Every time Paul George steps on the basketball court as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, he will be honoring Kobe Bryant.

George has been fondly referred to as "PG-13" for quite a while, as he has donned the No. 13 dating all the way back to his playing days in Indiana. He wore the number with the Pacers, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers.

However, George signed with the 76ers this summer, and the No. 13 is retired in Philadelphia in honor of Wilt Chamberlain. So, George was forced to pivot. The star forward will wear No. 8 with the Sixers in honor of the late Kobe Bryant, who has well-documented ties to Philadelphia.

George said he considered several numbers before deciding that 8 felt right.

"I'm in Philly," George said on his podcast. "My idol, Kobe Bryant. [It's] my way of idolizing Kobe. ... It's only fitting."

George also previously wore No. 24 earlier in his career, so now he has both of Bryant's numbers covered.

Perhaps donning Bryant's original number will allow George to channel his own inner "Mamba mentality" and help him lead the Sixers to their first NBA title since 1983 -- seven years before George was born.



Follow Michael Kaskey-Blomain on X @therealmikekb.

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