Fans Want NBA To Retire The Number 24 In Honour Of Kobe Bryant
Fans are urging the NBA to retire the number 24 forever in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s tragic passing.
Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna, 13, were among nine people killed yesterday, January 26, when the helicopter they were travelling in crashed.
Bryant and Gianna were reportedly on the way to one of her basketball practices when the accident happened, along with Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his daughter Alyssa Altobelli and wife Keri Altobelli.
Following the tragic incident, and to honour the NBA legend, basketball fans around the world are calling for his jersey number for the Los Angeles Lakers, 24, to be retired from the game permanently.
Although Bryant played solely for the Los Angeles Lakers during his stellar 20-year career, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has confirmed his team will be retiring the jersey number.
Cuban issued the following statement on the passing of Kobe and Gianna Bryant:
We are shocked and saddened by the devastating news of the passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. Kobe was an ambassador for our game, a decorated legend and a global icon. Above all, he was a loving and dedicated father.
Kobe’s legacy transcends basketball, and our organisation has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick.
Our hearts go out to all the lives lost and the families impacted by this terrible tragedy. We send our thoughts and prayers to Vanessa and the family, the Lakers organisation and Kobe Bryant fans everywhere.
Although the Mavericks are the first team to take this action, they likely won’t be the last. Utah Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell urged all NBA teams to do the same, taking to Twitter to make his thoughts clear.
Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers tweeted that all NBA teams should retire both the numbers 24 and 8; he wore No. 8 for the first half of his career and switched to 24 ahead of the 2006-2007 season.
Sportscaster Eric Smith confirmed that Norman Powell, who wears jersey number 24 for the Toronto Raptors, would ‘fully support’ retiring the number if that’s what the league decided to do.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said nine people were on the helicopter, a pilot and eight passengers. He would not confirm who had died until all the next of kin had been notified.
The helicopter departed from John Wayne Airport just after 9am on Sunday, with the crash happening shortly before 10am in Calabasas.
Kobe and Gianna are survived by his wife, Vanessa, and their three other daughters, Natalia, Bianca and Capri.
Our thoughts are with the Bryant family and the loved ones of all those who died at this difficult time.
Rest in peace.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence, contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.