The Boston Celtics will be handing out the first NBA jersey numbered 71 since McCoy McLemore to Dennis Schroder for the 2021-22 season.
Schroder was a free agent this past summer, but he wasn’t among the hot properties on the market. He remained without a team for the first week or so. It is believed that his contract demands were deemed unreasonable by many franchises after a dismal playoff showing.
He was eventually snapped up by Brad Stevens for the Taxpayers’ Mid-level Exception worth over $5 million. It represented a significant hit from his previous salary of $15 million annually.
The German 28-year-old point guard is determined to put his playoff disappointment behind him. He’s been taking the memes and trolls on the chin, even challenging his followers to produce their best ‘fumbled the bag’ roasts on his birthday.
Schroder subsequently organized a fan vote to determine his jersey number with the upcoming season for the Celtics. This allowed yet another round of banter with fans, who voted in 96 as the most popular choice.
96 is not a number Schroder would willingly don, for he’s spent his childhood rooting against the Bundesliga team Hannover 96. And with most of the iconic Celtics jersey numbers now retired, he went with a pick from the left field.
Dennis Schroder to wear jersey number 71 with the Boston Celtics for 2021-22 NBA season
The Celtics have announced that their newly-signed guard will be donning jersey number 71 next year. 71 is an exceedingly rare, if not odd selection for a basketball jersey.
McCoy McLemore was the last NBA player to choose 71 as his jersey number. McCoy played for 8 seasons in the league, from 1964 to 1972. He donned 71 when he was on the Warriors as a rookie.
Celtics fans will be hoping that Schroder comes good on the court. Good enough, at least, so that #71 becomes a number another kid from the city might willingly take.
After letting fans vote on which number he should wear, looks Dennis Schroder will wear #71 this season in Boston. If so, Schroder will be the first #71 in Celtics history. pic.twitter.com/PVhApe32ew
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) September 17, 2021