The Number Twenty-One

You've heard of the world-famous card game, 21, otherwise known as Blackjack. But there's a lot you probably haven't heard about the number twenty-one. Did you know that it's the name of a New York City Restaurant? And that the twenty-first president was Chester A. Arthur? Or how about that twenty-one is the number of spots on a standard die? Here, you'll find all the greatest little known facts about famous number 21.

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Twenty-One in Sports

Okay. Sports is a pretty-obvious hangout for any number. After all, you have jersey numbers, points per game, and yard lines. But unless you're a super-sports fanatic, you probably don't know a lot of these sports facts about the number 21:
  • 21 is the name of the game! It describes a unique version of basketball where every player plays on his own team.
  • 21 is the jersey number of Sammy Sosa, MLB slugger with the Texas Rangers It's also the number of Tim Duncan, bronze medalist and a current NBA player for the San Antonio Spurs.
  • World Cup Champions like the number 21, too. Andrea Pirlo, Italian footballer, sports the number on his jersey.
  • So did Frank Gore, Julius Jones, Ken Lucas, Antrel Rolle, and many other famous football players.


  • Twenty-One - A Mark of Adulthood

    Once you reach the age of twenty-one, you know you've hit a pretty important milestone. In the U.S., being twenty-one means you can drink and gamble. But did you know that twenty-one used to be the legal voting age in most states until the Twenty-Sixth Amendment was passed? Here are some more fun facts about what it means to be twenty-one:
  • In most places in the U.S., you can rent a car once you're twenty-one.
  • In England and Wales, twenty-one used to be the age of majority. It was lowered to eighteen with the enactment of the Family Law Reform Act.
  • Twenty-one is the legal age for prostitution in the U.S. Thought that was illegal? It is, except in licensed brothels in Nevada.
  • You can buy a handgun once you're twenty-one in most states in the U.S.
  • In the UK, 21 used to be the age when a person could join the Scottish or UK Parliament or the National Assembly for Wales. In 2007, the age was changed to 18.


  • Twenty-One in Music

    The Paddingtons and The Cranberries both thought that 21 was a great name for a hit song. But some bands feel the number deserves a more permanent place in their music - like the 21 Demands. This Dublin based rock band plays original songs that attempt to fuse many different genres, from pop to electronica. Or what about Omarion, the R&B singer? His second album was called 21 and made it to the number one spot on the Billboard 200.
    Some record labels also use twenty-one in their names, like 21 Records and 21st Circuitry. They must know that twenty-one is more than just a number.

    21 Random Trivia

    Perhaps the most compelling details about the number twenty-one are the random facts that twenty-one lovers keep track of:
  • 21 is the atomic number of the element Scandium
  • It's also the weight of a soul in grams, according to Duncan Macdougal. He tried to prove that the soul was a physical part of the body, with actual mass, by weighing dying patients.
  • 21 is the name of a drinking game.
  • 21 is the standard TCP/IP number for an FTP connection.
  • 21 Demands were sent from Japan to the Chinese government in 1915.
  • Gustave Whitehead allegedly flew a plane called Number 21 two years before the Wright brothers' first flight.
  • 21 put an end to prohibition in the U.S. It was the Twenty-First Amendment which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, and re-legalized alcohol.


  • There you have it - everything you thought you'd never need to know about the number twenty-one. Next time you play a game of twenty-one (not the basketball game, or the drinking game, but the classic card game!), remember that there's more to this fascinating number than first meets the eye.

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