Former Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant died on Sunday in a tragic helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other people in Calabasas, California.
The NBA is understandably heartbroken by this tragedy. Every NBA game that took place on Sunday and Monday featured some type of tribute for Bryant. The league is likely planning something bigger for the five-time NBA champion.
Some have suggested that Bryant’s jersey numbers, 8 and 24, should be retired by the NBA. Mark Cuban already announced that no Mavs player will wear No. 24 again.
Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie announced today that he’s switching his number from No. 8 to No. 26 in honor of Bryant.
The Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie announces his number change from No. 8 — one of Kobe Bryant’s Laker Numbers — to No. 26 https://t.co/OoCPWzQd58
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 28, 2020
Dinwiddie grew up idolizing Bryant and recalled a special conversation with the legendary player following his tragic death.
“I met Kobe several times, exchanged pleasantries and text messages and things, and maybe it’s a little bit overexaggerating but I felt like this was the first time he was looking at me as the basketball player, Spencer, you know what I mean?” Dinwiddie said on Sunday. “I briefly told you guys how much he meant to all the people from where I’m from, and for him to tell me that in his book, I’m an All-Star and stuff like that, that uh — I kinda talk about [the All-Star Game as] a popularity contest before, like you know, you don’t win things like that when you’re me. So for him to say that, like, I didn’t need to be selected anymore, because I was an All-Star. It’s not just like my family knows. The guy [knows].”
NBA insider Shams Charania reports that other players who wear No. 8/No. 24 are also considering changing their number in honor of Kobe.
Sources: Multiple NBA players have begun informally retiring Kobe Bryant’s jersey number(s) as a tribute — with Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie among them, changing from No. 8 to No. 26.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 28, 2020
Bryant wore No. 8 and No. 24 with the Lakers, who retired both numbers following his illustrious career.