Jayson Tatum to Wear Kobe Bryant's No. 10 for Team USA: 'It's a Tremendous Honor'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 7, 2021

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 6: Jayson Tatum #10 of Team USA smiles during USAB Mens National Team practice at the Mendenhall Center on July 6, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Jayson Tatum will wear the No. 10 jersey for Team USA at the Summer Olympics, following in the path of Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant.

"It's a tremendous honor," Tatum said of the jersey number, per Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. "And I'll wear it proudly."

Kobe memorably wore No. 8 and 24 for the Los Angeles Lakers but put on the No. 10 jersey for Team USA. Tatum, who wears No. 0 for the Boston Celtics, is looking to honor the deceased superstar.

"With this being the first Olympics since we lost him, it holds that much more value," he said. "It's not something I take lightly."

Bryant played a key role for USA Basketball, representing the country in the 2008 Olympics as part of the "redemption team" after a disappointing bronze medal in 2004. The 2008 squad returned to dominance behind Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony among others.

Four years later, Kobe was again a key player as the United States took home a second straight gold medal in 2012.

Tatum is looking to replicate this success in Tokyo, although his previous senior experience was not quite as good. The forward was part of a 2019 FIBA World Cup team that finished in seventh place, although he only played two games because of an ankle injury.

The 23-year-old has seen his career blossom since then with two straight All-Star selections. Tatum finished this past year averaging 26.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, all career highs.

He is now expected to be a key player for the Americans later this month as he tries to replicate the success of his "favorite player" in Bryant.