Dallas Mavericks have retired Kobe Bryant’s No. 24 out of respect for the recently deceased athlete and several other basketball players are lobbying the NBA to retire the number league-wide.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban shared a statement about his decision to retire the jersey number on Sunday (Jan. 26).
“We are shocked and saddened by the devastating news of the passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” the statement read. “Kobe was an ambassador for our game, a decorated legend and a global icon. Above all, he was a loving and dedicated father.”
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were tragically killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday (Jan. 26) in Calabazas, CA. According to CNN, Orange Coast College basketball coach John Altobelli and his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa also perished in the crash, along with another basketball coach and mother, Christina Mauser. Bryant and Gianna were on their way to her basketball game, Alyssa was her teammate.
“Kobe’s legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick,” the note continued. “Our hearts go out to all the lives lost and the families impacted by this terrible tragedy. We send out thoughts and prayers to Vanessa and the family, the Lakers organization and Kobe Bryant fans everywhere.”
No. 24 and 8, both of Bryant’s jersey numbers, were previously retired by the Los Angeles Lakers, following his retirement from the league in 2017. Bryant enjoyed a legendary 20-season career with the Lakers, winning five NBA championships. He was an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, 12-time member of the All-Defensive Team and was awarded NBA Most Valuable Player in 2008.
Fox Sports reports that several other NBA players, have called for a league-wide retiring of No. 24 and 8.
“PLEASE @NBA,” Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell tweeted on Sunday (Jan. 26). “RETIRED 24! LEAGUE WIDE!!”
“Don’t forget 8 too,” teammate Royce O’Neale added.
Don’t forget 8 too— Royce O'Neale (@BucketsONeale00) January 26, 2020
Bryant was remembered throughout Sunday’s Grammy Awards (Jan. 26), including a special tribute performance by host Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men. Bryant’s jersey also appeared in several scheduled performances and his picture was shown alongside Nipsey Hussle’s during the late rapper’s tribute.