Anthony Edwards’s Latest Jersey Number Has a Special Meaning for Him

Turns out, Anthony always wanted to be No. 5, but former teammate Malik Beasley didn’t want to give the number up.


May 13 2024, Published 2:09 p.m. ET

Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks for a foul call during a game against the Denver Nuggets on May 10, 2024, at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn.
Source: Getty Images

Basketball star Anthony Edwards spent three years as Minnesota Timberwolves’ No. 1 player — in terms of his jersey number. Then, before the 2023–2024 NBA season, he became No. 5. So why did Anthony change his number?

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Anthony announced the change in August 2023. “I want to let all the Minnesota Timberwolves fans know that I’m just switching from No. 1 to No. 5 this year. It should be 5,” he said in an interview with Stadium’s Shams Charania. Then he delved into the rationale…

Anthony Edwards reacts as the Minnesota Timberwolves play the Denver Nuggets on May 6, 2024, at Ball Arena in Denver, Colo.
Source: Getty Images
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Why did Anthony Edwards change numbers?

Anthony told Shams that 5 has always been a special number for him. “High school, college, AAU [Amateur Athletic Union] — it’s always been a number to me that I always wanted. And I tried to get it when I got drafted. I just couldn’t. My teammate had it. So, I mean, an opportunity presented itself this year, and I took it.”

Ant-Man did indeed wear No. 5 in high school and college, according to NBC Sports, but when he got drafted into the Timberwolves, former teammate Malik Beasley had the number and wasn’t ready to switch. “He ain’t want to come up off it, so I had to choose 1,” Anthony said in a Timberwolves video announcing the change.

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When Malik left the team in 2022, the number 5 went to the Timberwolves’ Kyle Anderson, and Kyle later agreed to switch with Anthony.

Anthony was “just waiting for the right time” to reclaim the number, he told Shams. “This year, I think, Kyle liked No. 1 anyway, so he can have 1, and I’m gonna take 5.” (The switch makes sense, considering Kyle No. 1 on his jersey during his time with the Memphis Grizzlies.)

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Ant also said he would be a “whole different player” as No. 5. “Just a lot of athleticism, a lot more dunks, just a different level of play because I’ve got my number on my back now,” he said.

The athlete said 5 is a “dope number” — especially because of its significance to his family.

In the Timberwolves video, Anthony explained that he “always loved” the number 5 — and that it’s a significant number for his family. “My family love to see me in that number, so, I mean, it’s a dope number to be in,” he said. “A lot of big, big days on the 5th: my birthday, my sister’s birthday, my grandma passed on the 5th. So, I mean, just big, big days. Big days.”

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The number 5 has come up elsewhere in Ant’s life. While playing basketball for Atlanta’s Holy Spirit Preparatory School, Edwards was rated a consensus five-star recruit, per his bio. During his time at the University of Georgia, he was one of five finalists for the 2020 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award, per AJC Sports. And a month before the jersey number change, Anthony signed a five-year extension with the Timberwolves that could be worth $260 million, per The Athletic.

Now the number 5 is “gonna look good with Edwards on the back,” the Atlanta native said in the Timberwolves video.

“We’re gonna put on the show this year, man,” he added. “No. 5. All my new fans, all my old fans, go get the 5 jersey.”

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