I will be wearing number 0 this year
Couple that with this photo of Chauncey Billups holding up the No. 1 jersey, and it’s clear Andre Drummond gave up his number so Billups could get his classic No. 1 back. Awesome move on Drummond’s part.
This is a break in protocol, though, one I didn’t originally believe would be possible. David Mayo of MLive:
the NBA relented on a rule requiring jersey number changes to be submitted in March of the previous season and allowed Andre Drummond to give up his number to a player who wore it for a 2004 Pistons championship team.
Billups’ reintroduction press conference was delayed 25 minutes while the team awaited the NBA ruling, followed by a jubilant reunion.
The rule was made so the NBA wouldn’t get stuck with unsold and out-of-date jerseys. I wonder whether the league has more No. 1 Billups Pistons jerseys than No. 1 Drummond Pistons jerseys still in stock. Billups was probably anticipated to be a higher seller during the 2008-09 season, when he was traded to the Nuggets four games in, than Drummond was last season. Perhaps, this was a rare case where the financial realities supersede intent of the rule.