Multiple NBA players have begun informally retiring Kobe Bryant’s jersey number as a tribute, with Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie changing from No. 8 to No. 26.
Dinwiddie, a Los Angeles native, announces his tribute:
It was originally thought that Dinwiddie might have chosen No. 26 as a tribute to Kobe’s No. 24 and his daughter Gigi’s No. 2 (24+2=26), but Dinwiddie revealed another reason.
The NBA usually makes players wait for a new season to switch jersey numbers, but Dinwiddie has been granted permission to make the switch, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.
Dinwiddie recently recalled his interaction with Bryant after a game in December, where Bryant told him, “You’re an All-Star in my book.”
Dinwiddie will reportedly wear his new number in the team’s next game on Jan. 29 against the Detroit Pistons.
Orlando Magic’s Terrence Ross also changed his number from No. 8 to No. 31, according to Shams Charania.
Ross spoke about the first time he got to see Bryant up close.
“It was my rookie year. We played him in L.A. I didn’t play that game but it was kind of like a front seat to the Lakers show,” Ross said. “He hit a couple threes in clutch moments, he dunked to take it into overtime so I was like, ‘This is like vintage Kobe. And I remember my mom was sitting courtside and she was looking me the whole time, like, ‘This is bad for ‘y’all.’ But it was fun. I enjoyed it.”