Kobe Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 aren’t officially retired by every team in the NBA, but they might as well be. Some players who wear No. 8 or No. 24 are proactively changing their numbers as a tribute to Bryant, according to Shams Charania.
Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie is among that group. Dinwiddie, who has worn No. 8 his entire career, changed to No. 26 on Tuesday. Dinwiddie tweeted about the change, saying, “Everything in life evolves.”
Dinwiddie revealed that he chose No. 26 for a number of reasons, but his son played a major role in that number.
We often search for meaning in numbers. And yes you guys have caught a lot of the obvious reasons...— Spencer Dinwiddie (@SDinwiddie_25) January 28, 2020
There’s one more tho, a person that I often speak about but hold private and most close to my heart.
Elijah + Spencer = 20 + 6
Honor your ppl, love you son 🤙🏾 https://t.co/pVT630bk0F
Dinwiddie’s son Elijah was born on April 20, 2018. Dinwiddie’s birthday is April 6, 1993. He added the days together when selecting his next number.
Charania says the gesture is a way of informally retiring Bryant’s numbers. Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among the nine people who died in a helicopter crash Sunday. Bryant was 41.
Players who want to change their number will have their cases reviewed by the NBA, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.
Requests by current NBA players to change from No. 8 or No. 24 to a new number in tribute to Kobe Bryant, like the Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie just did, will be reviewed by the NBA on a case-by-case basis, according to a source briefed on the process— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 28, 2020
Stein notes that the league usually doesn’t let players change their numbers midseason, but allowed Dinwiddie to make the switch.
Other players who will change their No. 8 jerseys include Orlando Magic guard Terrence Ross, who will now wear No. 31, and Los Angeles Clippers forward Moe Harkless, who will don No. 11, according to Charania. Mason Plumlee of the Denver Nuggets and Jahlil Okafor of the New Orleans Pelicans are also among the players who will change their numbers in honor of Bryant, according to Charania.
In the days following Bryant’s death, NBA teams and players have paid tribute to Bryant with touching letters, stories and gestures on the court. Changing jersey numbers appears to be the next step in that process.
Not every NBA player who currently wears No. 8 or No. 24 will look to change their numbers. Indiana Pacers forward Alize Johnson, who wears No. 24 in honor of Bryant, said he wanted to keep wearing the number as a tribute to Bryant.
Pacers forward Alize Johnson, who has always worn No. 24 for Kobe, is not changing his number, per source.— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) January 28, 2020
“You need that role model coming up and for me, it was God and him,” Johnson told @TheAthleticIND.https://t.co/S9NEVAtNhj pic.twitter.com/MDkT9mOyTA
Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 are retired by the Los Angeles Lakers. Following Bryant’s death, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced the team would retire No. 24 in honor of Bryant.
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