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His Number is Being Retired?

Trivia brain teasers have some element of trivia in them, but they are not just pure trivia questions.

 

Puzzle ID:#35374
Fun:*** (2.36)
Difficulty:*** (2.76)
Category:Trivia
Submitted By:meintsi*****
Corrected By:cnmne

 

 

 



Joe was at a high school class reunion when he let slip that his college basketball jersey was going to be retired in the near future. Many of his classmates were very aware of Joe's success at college and knew many famous professional players had also attended the school before him. For him to be the 31st player awarded with the honor by the school was a great achievement, but his former high school coach who had dropped by the reunion to see many of his returning students knew Joe was mistaken. Why?



Answer

After a foul has occurred, all basketball numbers must be able to be signaled by hand by the referee to the scorer's table. Therefore, the highest legal number allowed is five. (The number 10 would be relayed to the scorer's table with 1 finger raised on his right hand with his left fist closed.) This means that there are only 35 possible legal combinations of jersey numbers (zero is not allowed). With 31 of these numbers retired, the college could not put 5 legal numbers on the floor, let alone field a whole team.
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