Dallas Mavericks To Retire Number 24 To Honor Kobe Bryant

 Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) greets Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban
Photo credit © Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
By NewsRadio 1080 KRLD

DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - The Dallas Mavericks say they will retire the number 24 in memory of Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash in California. The crash killed Bryant, his daughter and seven others.

“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," Owner Mark Cuban wrote in a statement. "Kobe’s legacy transcends basketball, and our organization 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 organization and Kobe Bryant fans everywhere.”​

Damn. RIP Mamba. May your memory be a blessing

— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 26, 2020

Bryant spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers, playing 20 seasons there. Only Dirk Nowitzki has had a longer career with one team, playing 21 seasons with the Mavericks.

"This is hitting me really hard," Nowitzki tweeted. "I will always remember coming home after games, so I could watch you dominate in the fourth quarter! You inspired so many around the world, including me."


— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) January 27, 2020

"Still can't comprehend or believe it. Devastating. Truly devastating. Rest in peace," Houston Texans Defensive End JJ Watt tweeted.

Governor Greg Abbott tweeted, "Such a tragic loss in the sports world." Then he posted a second tweet with a video of Bryant and his daughter talking near the court of a basketball game in December, writing, "Kobe & Gigi living their best lives. This is the best way to remember."

Bryant's first coach with the Lakers was Del Harris, who is now coach of the NBA G-League's Texas Legends in Frisco. Bryant was 17 when the Lakers drafted him in 1996.

"One of the first things I remember is he wasn't able to participate in training camp because he broke his hand playing pick-up ball in Venice Beach," Harris says. "He just couldn't wait for the season to start. He had to play."

Harris says Bryant never needed motivation.

"He gave 100 percent all the time," Harris says. "He wanted to be better all the time."