The city of Los Angeles will host a memorial service for Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven other victims of a tragic helicopter crash on Feb. 24 at the Staples Center.
Why it matters
- The date of the memorial service has significance. Feb. 24 can be rewritten as “2/24” or “2.24,” which is a reference to both Kobe and Gianna’s jersey numbers, The Los Angeles Times reports.
- Kobe Bryant wore the No. 8 before switching to No. 24.
- Gianna Bryant wore the No. 2.
Why did Kobe Bryant wear No. 24?
- Bryant wore the No. 24 beginning in the 2006-2007 season after spending the early years of his career at No. 8, according to Bleacher Report.
- Bryant said: “When I first came in at 8, is really trying to ‘plant your flag’ sort of thing,” Bryant said. “I got to prove that I belong here in this league. I’ve got to prove that I’m one of the best in this league. You’re going after them. It’s nonstop energy and aggressiveness and stuff.”
- Bryant said: “Then 24 is a growth from that. Physical attributes aren’t there the way they used to be, but the maturity level is greater. Marriage, kids. Start having a broader perspective being one of the older guys on the team now, as opposed to being the youngest. Things evolve.”
Was Gianna’s number retired?
- Gianna Bryant, though still a young player, wore the No. 2 for a number of her teams. As I wrote before, her mother, Vanessa Bryant, shared a photo on Instagram that revealed Gianna’s school retired Gianna’s jersey in the aftermath of her tragic death.
- The University of Connecticut honored Gianna, too, placing a No. 2 jersey on an empty seat at an exhibition game against Team USA. Gianna Bryant was a fan of the UConn basketball team, according to Bleacher Report.
What about the NBA All-Star Game tribute to Kobe?
- The NBA decided to change its All-Star Game format to honor Kobe Bryant and Gianna.
- ESPN reported the game will use each quarter as a small game for charity. The final quarter won’t have any clock and a target score will be chosen.
- ESPN said: “That’s where the tribute to Bryant and the No. 24 jersey he wore for the last decade of his NBA career comes into play. The team that wins the All-Star Game will be the first to reach a target score, determined by the total points the team in the lead scored in the first three quarters combined — plus 24, the obvious nod to Bryant.”