Damian Lillard wears the No. 0. Carmelo Anthony wears the No. 00. Question: Is 00 a real number? Is there a numerical difference between 0 and 00? Could someone wear 000, or 1.0 or 1.5?—Brett S.
For the record, the 2019-20 Blazers aren't the first NBA team to have a 0 and a 00 on the roster at the same time.
In fact, they're not even the first Blazers team. Remember Enes Kanter, the center we signed after Jusuf Nurkic's grisly injury? Who wore 00 alongside Damian Lillard's 0, while averaging 10 rebounds and 11 points per game during the Blazers' deepest playoff run of this century? You know, last season?
Yeah, me neither. Or rather (probably like you) I remembered him, but not his jersey number. In any case, the fact that 00 has no mathematical significance isn't relevant. Jersey numbers just need to be unique identifiers; in theory, they could be two letters, or two colors, or that thing that Prince changed his name to in the '90s.
Still, in a world where 420 is too long and 69 too juvenile (for everyone except—who else?—Dennis Rodman, whose request for it was turned down by the league), 0 and 00 do stand out as special, maybe because it seems like they're breaking some rule.
These days, however, the specialness may be wearing off—at the moment, there are only nine NBA teams that don't have a No. 0 on their roster.
But none of that matters, since Lillard's official position is that he doesn't wear the No. 0. He wears the letter O, in honor of his birth in Oakland, his college career in Ogden (home of Utah's Weber State), and his current life in Oregon. (The NBA allows the use of this "letter O," though I suspect if Lillard had come to us from Fort Union by way of Furman University, they'd sing a different tune.)
Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony's view—according to a somewhat cosmic Instagram post on Nov. 19—appears to be that he's wearing not the numerals 00 but the infinity symbol, ∞.
So you see, Brett, there are really no zeroed-out jerseys on the Blazers at all—move along; nothing to see here! Get it? "Nothing"? Because…oh, never mind.