NEW SIXER PAUL GEORGE WILL WEAR 8, AN HOMAGE TO KOBE BRYANT!

By Jimmy Traub

As a Sixer, Paul George won’t be donning the number 13.

George’s traditional No. 13 is retired in Philadelphia for legendary center Wilt Chamberlain.

George’s new number will instead draw inspiration from his idol, Kobe Bryant. Born in Philadelphia, Bryant ascended to pre-professional stardom at Lower Merion High School before joining the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant donned the No. 8 for the Lakers across his first decade in the NBA.

“I had to do it. C’mon man, I’m in Philly.” George said on his podcast. “My way of idolizing Kobe.

Thankfully, there was another silver lining for George in a potential number switch. Chief among them? Miscommunications with his 3½-year-old son, Paul Vuk George.

“My son can’t say 13,” said George. “So he says 14.”

George considered switching to his son’s preferred number, but he concluded that it didn’t feel right on him. He also weighed 25 and 31, numbers he wore in high school, but didn’t think they looked right either.

“It’s good to have those moments to just, like, when you look at that jersey … ‘Yeah, this is who I’m putting it on for.'”

The new number is something of a full-circle moment for George. His first number in the NBA after being drafted by the Indiana Pacers was No. 24, the number Bryant wore for his final 10 seasons in Los Angeles.

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