Why Dennis Smith Jr. will wear the No. 1, not 4, with the Mavericks

After wearing the No. 4 throughout his prep and collegiate career, Smith is making a switch with the Mavericks

Brad Penner—USA Today Sports
Dennis Smith

If you look up Dennis Smith Jr. on Twitter, his official (currently unverified) account will read “@Dennis4Smith.” That’s likely to change soon.Throughout his prep and collegiate career, Smith has always had the No. 4 emblazoned across his jersey. Whether it was with the Trinity Christian Crusaders, Team Loaded or the NC State Wolfpack, Smith’s name was always embroidered above the No. 4 on the back of his jersey.Until now.On the night of the 2017 NBA Draft, Smith announced he would wear the No. 1 with the Dallas Mavericks after being taken with the No. 9 overall pick. Let’s just say it wasn’t his first choice.”Oh, man,” Smith said during his introductory press conference. “I was doing the media circuit after my name got called (in Thursday’s draft). It was like, ‘All right, it’s time to pick a number.’ So of course I wanted number four. And I couldn’t get that.”That was Michael Finley’s number when he played with the Mavericks before becoming the vice president of basketball operations. Try again.”Then I asked for 22,” Smith said. “They said no.” That’s Rolando McLain’s retired number, only one of two with Brad Davis’ No. 15 as the other.”Then I said, ‘Well, can I get 5?'” Smith asked. He was told ‘no’ again because Jason Kidd wore that number during the 1994-95 season when he won co-NBA Rookie of the Year. Kidd was the last point guard selected in the first round by the Mavericks until Smith on Thursday night.Smith then asked for No. 3, just a rung below four, but that already belongs to center Nerlens Noel. That was when both sides finally agreed on the No. 1.”I’m like, ‘Man, are y’all sure y’all called me for Dallas?'” Smith joked. “Then we found out I could get No. 1. It worked out fine.”The last player to wear the No. 1 was also a first-round pick in Justin Anderson back in 2015. Last year, Anderson was traded in a package that included Andrew Bogut for Noel. Suffice to say, there’s not exactly a lot to live up to for Smith with the sample size for Anderson so small.As for the decision to move on from the No. 4, Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban offered his own take on why Smith shouldn’t wear the number in Dallas.”Fin[ley] goes, ‘You know what happened to the last couple of folks who had No. 4 in this organization after I left?” Cuban explained. “Go see how they did.'”Since Finley retired in 2005 after eight seasons with the Mavericks, Shawne Williams, Caron Butler, Kelenna Azubuike, Darren Collison, Greg Smith and Quincy Acy. Not exactly an inspiring bunch, likely causing some superstition for Cuban and the organization.Now Smith has a chance to blaze his own trail with the No. 1 in Dallas. It might not have been his first, second, third or even fourth choice, but it’s one that he hopes to make as famous as Finley did the No. 4.