Most pro athletes wind up with an arbitrary jersey number, assigned to them by an equipment manager when they were young players. But sometimes there’s more to the story. Here, a look at what the numbers mean for four of Denver’s top athletes.

Troy Tulowitzki #2
Colorado Rockies: The All-Star shortstop wears No. 2, not just because of his nickname (Tulo) but because of his “respect and admiration” for one of baseball’s best: shortstop Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees, who also sports the deuce.

Paul Stastny #26
Colorado Avalanche: Stastny wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps—in the ’80s, the Hockey Hall of Famer played for the Quebec Nordiques, which later became the Avs—and wear No. 26. But the number wasn’t free when he started his pro career with the Avs, so he settled for No. 62—until teammate John-Michael Liles changed his own number to give Stastny his legacy.

Danilo Gallinari #8
Denver Nuggets: One of the Nuggets’ newest additions (he landed here last February as part of the “Melodrama”), Gallinari says No. 8 brings him good luck. He was, after all, born on August 8, 1988.

Conor Casey #9
Colorado Rapids: In professional soccer, players are traditionally assigned numbers based on their position. As a big-target forward, Denverite Casey uses No. 9—the same one worn by famous ball players Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Fernando Torres (Chelsea Football Club), and Olympic gold medalist Mia Hamm.

This article was originally published in 5280 October 2011.
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at