Now that Kobe Bryant has long retired and the upcoming 2017-2018 season is fast approaching, it is but natural for the Los Angeles Lakers to hang the jersey number of another Laker great in their storied franchise history.
But what do you do if this player actually played with two numbers along the way? Which number should you retire -- or should you really just retire them both??
Thinking deeper, retiring both numbers would not be a good precedent for the league. It’s like you just put ‘too much’ weight on that particular player; and in turn, making the player sound narcissistic! More so, how would this affect future greats of the franchise? Like, what if they wished to use that certain number, too, but could not because it was already hung in the rafters? Or what if they would just change numbers during the course of their career as well? With a Kobe Bryant precedent, that would reward them with at least two untouchable jerseys, too! Cool??
And so, here are some suggestions.
LENGTH OF USE
While this criteria is closely linked to the ‘last number used’, the choice between length and last should undergo checks and balances. If a player used a particular number for 8 years then used another number for the next 10 years, this gives us the notion that perhaps this player liked the latter number more. After all, consider the time.
Then again, even if he was only able to use his second number for just a couple of years -- where for whatever reason, he suddenly could not play anymore -- but because he chose to change his number, the second one should still be given consideration.
Now, this is the consideration that we are talking about. Impact. Choose the jersey number when this player played his best. When he broke records, if any. Otherwise, when he was more of himself, or when he was more athletic. Not necessarily the jersey number when he won his first championship since others only win one when they are about to retire -- like, they join some contender or something.
ASK THE PLAYER
Well, just like the link between length and last, asking the player should also be attached to ‘asking the fans’. But first, though Kobe did change numbers, ask him why he did so. Was it simply because he wanted to go back to his old high school number? Then why did he take 10 years to decide when George McCloud has long been gone? This would give you an idea why he really changed numbers.
See, perhaps he only changed his number because he wanted to realign his game. Like, his body was already feeling the wear-and-tear of dunking (#8) and so he chose to just keep shooting jumpers (#24) more often. Besides, Kobe has also already proven himself in joining slam dunk contests, so don’t get your thoughts jumbled.
If you want more validation on which number to hang, consider conducting a poll for the fans to choose from. Like, through the years, how do fans remember Kobe? What ‘move’, game or season really registered in their minds? Add all these criteria and decide.
In the end, in remembering a player, focus on the brand he has created.
Say what you?
Published by Consumer Live