As the sports world and NBA continue to mourn Lakers legend.in a tragic helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, players leaguewide are taking further actions to pay their respects to the
While both numbers synonymous with Bryant — Nos. 8 and 24 — are already illuminated in the rafters of Staples Center, and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban already said that , other teams around the league may soon follow suit. Yet some players are already taking it upon themselves to retire the Black Mamba’s numbers unofficially following his untimely death on Sunday.
At the start of the 2019-20 season, No. 8 was tied for the second-most popular number worn in the league this season with 19 players wearing it, while 11 others wear the No. 24. Players like Kemba Walker, Zach LaVine, Jordan Clarkson, Buddy Hield and Kent Bazemore all wear one of Kobe’s numbers, but that might soon change. However, per league rules, all jersey changes must be approved. The league will handle all requests they’re getting for players wanting to change their numbers from No. 8 and No. 24 on a case-by-case basis, according to New York Times‘ Marc Stein.
Here is a list of players who are changing their No. 8/24 jersey numbers to honor Kobe Bryant.
Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets
Spencer Dinwiddie decided to change his jersey number from No. 8 to No. 26 out of respect for Bryant. The Nets announced the jersey change on Twitter Tuesday, with Dinwiddie saying that he chose 26 because “20” and “6” represent the birth dates for both his son Elijah (April 20) and his own (April 6). He also pointed out that there are other obvious reasons for the number, one of which being that two plus six equals eight, so in some way it still honors Bryant as well. Dinwiddie debuted his new number on Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons.
Ross will also be making the switch, per Charania. The Magic’s shooting guard will turn in his No. 8 jersey for No. 31, which is what he wore as a member of the Toronto Raptors and his first two seasons with the Magic.
Quinn Cook, Los Angeles Lakers
Cook is changing his jersey number from No. 2 to No. 28 in honor of Kobe’s daughter, Gianna Bryant, per Charania. She wore No. 2, which combines with Kobe’s No. 8.
Markieff Morris, Detroit Pistons
After switching to No. 8 when he joined the Detroit Pistons this season, Morris has decided to change his jersey number to 88 out of respect for Kobe, per The Athletic’s James Edwards III. Morris said that players will likely all stop wearing No. 8 or No. 24, and that it was a “collective thing” that players in the league needed to do and wanted to do. He showed off his new number on Wednesday against Dinwiddie’s Nets.
Moe Harkless, Los Angeles Clippers
Harkless is turning in his No. 8 jersey for a No. 11 one to honor Kobe, per Shams Charania. In an Instagram post on his account, the Clippers forward paid tribute to Bryant after his death on Sunday, mentioning how much of an inspiration the Lakers legend provided Harkless to “want to make something of himself,” while also calling Kobe a “real-life superhero.”
The Pelicans center wore No. 8 when he was a member of the Philadelphia 76ers for two seasons, and picked it again when he joined the Pelican in 2018-19. Now, though, Okafor is switching his number to No. 9, per Charania.
Since 2016, Plumlee has worn No. 24. Yet like so many other players across the league, the Nuggets’ backup center is switching to No. 7 to honor Kobe.
Miye Oni, Utah Jazz
As a Los Angeles native, Oni will change his number from No. 24 to No. 81, as a tribute to Bryant’s 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. The Utah rookie said he also chose No. 81 because it represents the Los Angeles area code of 818, per Shams Charania.
In the wake of Bryant’s death, players across the league have mourned the passing of one of the greatest players the game has ever seen. While No. 24 is more commonly associated with Kobe, he became a legend wearing both numbers.
He played 10 seasons wearing each number, scored over 16,000 points in each jersey and won a combined five championships with the No. 8 and No. 24 on his back. He started his NBA career wearing No. 8 because that is the number he wore when he was playing basketball in Italy as a child. Then, 10 years into his already historic career, Bryant switched to No. 24 because that’s what he wore in high school. At the time of him entering the league, No. 24 was already taken by George McCloud.
Bryant often spoke of the two numbers like they were two different chapters in his basketball life., Bryant said that he associates the No. 8 jersey with him trying to “plant his flag” in the league. When he changed to No. 24, that was as if he was shedding his skin and developing and growing into a new player.
With the amount of impact and influence Bryant had on a lot of players in the league, this list will likely only grow as the season wares on.