The story behind your favorite NBA player's jersey number

Published December 14, 2022, 9:30 AMJC Ansis

Past and present NBA players, such as Dirk Nowitzki, Steph Curry, and Chris Paul, share their jersey stories.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on December 15, 2021.

The late Kobe Bryant is the first and only player in NBA history to have two jerseys (8 and 24) retired by the same team.

He wore No. 8 from 1996 to 2006 then switched to No. 24 for the remainder of his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. But what is the story behind those two numbers? What made them special to Kobe?

The No. 8 came from 143, the number he wore at the Adidas ABCD Camp which adds up to eight. Meanwhile, 24 was the number he used in high school at Lower Merion.

Dirk Nowitzki, on the other hand, sported No. 14 when he started playing basketball at age 11 in Germany. At the same time, he looked up to Charles Barkley, who wore No. 14 while playing for the Dream Team in the '92 Olympics. But when Dirk entered the league, No. 14 wasn't available so he decided to switch the two digits and use No. 41 instead.

Ever wondered what the story is behind your favorite player's jersey number? Listen to past and present NBA players, such as Steph Curry and Chris Paul, share their jersey stories in the video:


To celebrate NBA Jersey Day on Dec. 14, the league has been encouraging fans to represent their favorite players and teams—both past and present—by sharing a photo of them wearing their favorite NBA, WNBA or NBA G League jersey on social media with the hashtag #NBAJerseyDay.


Filipino fans can find the widest selection of authentic NBA jerseys at NBA Store Philippines in SM Megamall or on NBAStore.com.ph (@nbastoreph on Instagram), the official online NBA Store in the Philippines.