Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie announced on Tuesday he has switched his jersey number from No. 8 to No. 26 following the death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant on Sunday.
Spencer Dinwiddie @SDinwiddie_25
We often search for meaning in numbers. And yes you guys have caught a lot of the obvious reasons... There’s one more tho, a person that I often speak about but hold private and most close to my heart. Elijah + Spencer = 20 + 6 Honor your ppl, love you son 🤙🏾 https://t.co/pVT630bk0F
Marc Stein of the New York Times reported the league office has cleared Dinwiddie to make the change despite typically requiring players to wait for the start of a new season to switch numbers.
The Orlando Magic later announced that Terrence Ross made the change to No. 31 from No. 8:
Bryant wore Nos. 8 and 24 during his decorated career with the Lakers.
In December, Dinwiddie met with Bryant before a game against the Atlanta Hawks, and the future Hall of Famer told Dinwiddie he was "playing like an All-Star."
"I'm a real mellow guy, for the most part—yeah, no, not with Kobe," he told reporters. "By far my favorite player of all time. His career was basically my childhood. I was juiced. It's probably why I missed the first 3 off the backboard, I ain't going to lie to y'all."
Dinwiddie reflected on that moment with Bryant after Sunday's game against the New York Knicks:
The 26-year-old Los Angeles native also discussed the impact the five-time NBA champion had on kids growing up in the city while he was becoming a global sports icon.
"He was everything to my generation," Dinwiddie said. "There's a whole generation of L.A. kids, global obviously, but that was our childhood. The lesson of hard work and, as cliche as it may sound, the Mamba Mentality, that's part of the reason I am who I am today. He was everything to a lot of kids, and I was one of them."
Meanwhile, Ross spoke about his first chance to see Bryant up close while with the Toronto Raptors during the 2012-13 season.
"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 killed us, he killed us bad. 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."
As players honor Bryant with the informal jersey retirements, fans have started a Change.org petition to rebrand the NBA logo from Jerry West to Kobe. It's received over 2 million signatures as of publication.
Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.