Players around the league are taking it upon themselves to show Kobe Bryant one of the biggest signs of respect you could give an athlete.
Sources tell Shams Charania that several NBA players are "informally retiring" Kobe's numbers by changing their jersey numbers from 8 or 24.
Leading the way is Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie. The 26-year-old is a Los Angeles native who grew up idolizing Kobe. His affinity for Bryant led him to wear the number 8 throughout his playing career. But per insiders, Dinwiddie has informed the Nets that he will be changing his number to 26 out of respect for Bryant.
Dinwiddie also explained that the number change is to honor his son, Elijah.
Dinwiddie also offered to cover the cost of changing fans' jerseys from 8 to 26.
The de facto decision follows an official announcement made by Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks, in which he said his franchise plans on retiring the no. 24 in honor of Bryant.
"Kobe's legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick," a statement reads.
Kobe Bryant is the only player in NBA history to have two numbers retired by the same team. Although both 8 and 24 hang from the rafters in Staples Center, it's likely that Kobe's funeral service will be held somewhere else. Per TMZ, officials believe that the expected attendees will exceed the 20,000 people that can fit into the Staples Center. Organizers are reportedly looking at holding the service in the Los Angeles Coliseum, which holds 80,000 people or the Rose Bowl, which seats 91,000 people.
In other news, Joel Embiid wore a #24 jersey in honor of Bryant on Tuesday night during his game against the Warriors.
Joel Embiid was approved to wear #24 tonight, in honor of Kobe Bryant. pic.twitter.com/OPcWsEBSU2— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 29, 2020
Man I don’t even know where to start😭😭 I started playing ball because of KOBE after watching the 2010 finals. I had never watched ball before that and that finals was the turning point of my life. I WANTED TO BE LIKE KOBE. I’m so FREAKING SAD right now!!!!— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) January 26, 2020