Chicago Bulls: LaVine, Markkanen honor Kobe Bryant with numbers

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

After the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant on Sunday, several NBA players have chosen to honor him in various ways.

Leading up to Wednesday night’s game between the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers, plenty of NBA players announced their plans to honor the late Kobe Bryant by switching their jersey numbers from either no. 8 or no. 24 to something different.

Players like Quinn Cook, Terrence Ross, Moe Harkless, among countless others, decided on a number change in order to pay their respects to Bryant following his death. It was Shams Charania of The Athletic who first had the majority of these switches reported.

This left us wondering whether or not we would see Zach LaVine or Lauri Markkanen do the same thing, with them each wearing no. 8 and no. 24, respectively.

While the Bulls have endured another rough season, the passing of Bryant has shed light on much important things than just the game of basketball. Bryant’s death has given pause amongst the world, as many of us reflect on family, friends and the people closest to us. The Bulls, like all other teams, payed tribute to Bryant during their first game following his tragic accident.

For LaVine, it was Bryant who inspired him his entire life, and that is why he is going to continue to wear the number eight.

"“I just didn’t have any plan on changing it. Kobe was one of the main reasons I wear No. 8,” LaVine said. “I’m going to continue to wear No. 8 because of that, too.” (NBCS Chicago)"

LaVine took to his social media after Bryant’s death detailing how he was impacted greatly by the NBA legend, citing how Bryant was one of the “biggest influences” on his life and that what Bryant accomplished made him “bigger than basketball.”

As for Markkanen, he will choose to do the same in keeping his number 24.

"“You can’t really go wrong with either decision,” Markkanen said. “I didn’t feel any pressure. It’s our decision. I feel like you can honor him either way, by retiring it or still keep his number alive. That’s just the route I took. Hopefully, everybody can respect everybody’s opinion.” (NBCS Chicago)"

Markkanen went on to explain, simply, that his number has a much deeper meaning now.

LaVine’s sentiments couldn’t be more spot on. Bryant’s impact was much bigger than basketball. He affected the world beyond just sports, more so than just about anyone else of his generation.

People everywhere, around the world, know who Bryant was. They understand he was an icon. He was a father, a husband and an all around incredible man who battled through hard times and shined during the good times.

I, for one, cannot wait to see what LaVine continues to do this season now that he has some of the biggest motivation and inspiration he could ever feel. He has already had a career season, and now that he has chosen to honor one of his biggest idols by continuing to sport the no. 8, there should be plenty more in store for him.

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For LaVine and Markkanen, I can say that I speak on behalf of most Bulls fans in that their choices should be respected. We know both guys are classy players, and obviously they have been impacted by Bryant’s passing. Carrying on Bryant’s legacy through a jersey number is, in fact, very honorable.