Philadelphia 76ers Wilt Chamberlain, 1967 NBA Eastern Division Finals

Who's Afraid of #13? Not These Star Athletes...

The only unlucky ones were the players who had to guard them.

Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

It’s called triskaidekaphobia — the fear of 13, a number so steeped in superstition that it often can’t get its own row on an airplane or floor in a building. In no place is this phobia more prevalent than in the sports world, where there are plenty of jerseys with 1s and 3s, but rarely any with those digits right next to each other. Before you automatically call the number 13 unlucky, though, here’s something that might make you reconsider: the surprising stats of the star athletes who've worn it…

James Harden Tom Pennington/Getty Images James Harden The only thing you have to fear is the beard itself. Drafted third-overall by the Thunder in 2009, the superstar guard has flourished since a 2012 trade to the Houston Rockets. The six-time all-star is the front-runner for this year's MVP award after carrying Houston to the NBA's best record (65-17) and leading the league in scoring (30.4 points per game). Wilt Chamberlain George Long/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images Wilt Chamberlain Affectionately known as "Wilt the Stilt," the late 7-foot-1 center was a four-time MVP, averaging a career 30.1 points and 22.9 rebounds per game, including a mind-boggling 50.4 points per game as a member of the 1961-62 Philadelphia Warriors. That was the same season, by the way, in which the Hall of Famer dropped a still-NBA-record 100 points in a single game. Kristine Lilly Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Kristine Lilly With a record 354 caps and 130 goals, Lilly remains one of the most decorated players in U.S. women’s national soccer history. During her 23-year career, she played in five FIFA World Cups, winning in 1991 and 1999. Oh, and she also won four straight NCAA championships at North Carolina. Dan Marino RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images Dan Marino You may think him unlucky for never winning a Super Bowl, but in his 17 seasons with the Miami Dolphins, the NFL Hall of Famer was a nine-time Pro Bowler and the league's MVP in 1984. That was the year the cannon-armed quarterback threw for a then-record 5,084 yards. Alex Rodriguez Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images Alex Rodriguez The now-retired A-Rod actually wore No. 3 with Seattle and Texas, but the three-time MVP and 14-time All-Star didn't win a World Series title until he switched to No. 13 with the New York Yankees (His former number was taken by some other guy named Babe Ruth). Kurt Warner Elsa/Getty Images Kurt Warner You want lucky? How about going from a grocery clerk to Super Bowl MVP? That's precisely what Kurt Warner did when he quarterbacked the St. Louis Rams to a title in Super Bowl XXXIV. The two-time league MVP threw for 32,000 yards over his 12 Hall of Fame seasons. Alex Morgan Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Alex Morgan The star forward for the U.S. Women's National Team has won an Olympic gold (2012) and helped lead USA to victory in the 2015 Women's World Cup, where she scored goals in both the semifinals and final. Her success extends to the club level, too — she's won titles with both the New York Flash and the Portland Thorns. Mats Sundin Dave Sandford/Getty Images Mats Sundin The Swedish-born Hall of Famer finished his NHL career with 564 goals and 785 assists, making him the league's 23rd all-time leader in points. In 2006, he helped lead Team Sweden to gold at the Torino Winter Olympic Games. Dave Concepcion Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images Dave Concepcion He may have been overshadowed by his "Big Red Machine" teammates, but the Venezuelan-born shortstop is one of the greatest to ever play the position. In his 18 seasons with the Reds, Concepcion won two World Series titles, five Gold Gloves, and back-to-back Silver Sluggers in 1981 and 1982. In 2007, the Reds retired his jersey, making it the only retired number 13 in MLB history. Odell Beckham, Jr. Al Bello/Getty Images Odell Beckham, Jr. Luck has nothing to do with Beckham's circus catches, and this picture should tell you all you need to know about the 25-year-old wide receiver's ridiculous skills. Coming off an injury-plagued 2017, the Giants' three-time pro-bowler is looking to return to the form of 2016, when he caught 101 balls for 1,367 yards. Michael Ballack Christian Fischer/Bongarts/Getty Images Michael Ballack The masterful midfielder earned 98 caps and scored 42 goals in his international career, leading Germany to the 2002 World Cup final and 2006 semi-finals. In eight seasons spent between Bayern Munich and Chelsea, Ballack was a key part of four Bundesliga titles, one Premier League title, and three FA Cups, as well as helping the Blues reach their first-ever Champions League final in 2008. Don Maynard Focus On Sport/Getty Images Don Maynard Most Jets fans will tell you they're unlucky, but that pessimism doesn't apply when Don Maynard's name comes up. The NFL Hall of Famer was a key member of the franchise's only Super Bowl championship season (1968), and is the all-time leading receiver with 627 receptions, 11,732 receiving yards, and 88 touchdowns. Steve Nash Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images Steve Nash The only thing unlucky surrounding Steve Nash was the feeling had by those who never got to play alongside him. The eight-time NBA All-Star point guard dished out 10,335 assists over his 18-year NBA career, finishing third all-time behind John Stockton and Jason Kidd. His 90.4 free-throw percentage is also the best in league history.
Sign up for our Newsletter