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LeBron James Explains Why He Decided on Wearing Gianna Bryant’s Number for NBA All-Star Game

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The NBA has several Kobe and Gianna Bryant tributes planned for this All-Star weekend. This includes Team Giannis wearing No. 24 jerseys to honor Kobe while Team LeBron will don No. 2 jerseys to pay homage to Gianna. When asked why he decided to have his team wear Gianna’s number, LeBron James gave an answer that alluded to their shared positions as fathers.

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“LeBron said the league asked him if he wanted his team to wear 24 or 2 for the All Star game,” Los Angeles Times reporter Tania Ganguli tweeted. “He picked 2, the number Gianna Bryant wore. Why? ‘Zhuri.'”

Zhuri James is LeBron’s only daughter and the youngest member of the “James Gang.” Although fans assumed Kobe wanted a son, he was open about the fun he had raising his four daughters. When remembering her favorite exchange with Bryant, ESPN reporter Elle Duncan recalled Kobe telling her how much he loved being a “girl dad.”

Unfortunately, Kobe’s daughter, Gianna, was on the helicopter with him when the fatal crash happened. This passion he had for being a father in addition to the tragic passing of Kobe and Gianna turned Duncan’s story into a trending topic. Now, fans and players are showing how fulfilling it is to be a father with daughters by using the hashtag “#GirlDad.” This led James to show that he too is a #GirlDad and that Kobe was “more than an athlete” by donning Gianna Bryant’s number.

The NBA All-Star game will go down later this month on February 16.


LeBron James Chose Gigi Bryant’s Number for ASG Because of Daughter Zhuri

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Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James told reporters on Monday that he chose for his All-Star team to wear No. 2 in the annual exhibition game in honor of Gianna Bryant because it reminded him of his own daughter, Zhuri.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s team will wear the No. 24 in honor of Kobe Bryant.

Kobe and Gianni Bryant were killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California on the morning of Jan. 26. Ara Zobayan, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester and Christina Mauser also died in the crash.

The NBA community has honored the memory of the Bryants and the other victims in a number of ways since the crash, including teams taking eight-second backcourt violations and 24-second shot clock violations at the start of games in remembrance of the two numbers Bryant wore during his career.

A number of players who traditionally have worn those numbers have chosen to change their numbers after the crash.

James, in particular, got a “Mamba 4 Lyfe” tattoo in Bryant’s memory:

He’s also worn several different iterations of Kobe’s signature Nike sneaker as a tribute:

On Friday, James also spoke to the crowd at Staples Center before the team’s first game back in action since Bryant’s death, saying the ceremony before the game was as much a celebration of Bryant’s life as it was a memorial of his death.

“This is a celebration of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the broken down body, the gettin’ up, everything, the countless hours,” he said, per CNN.com. “The determination to be a great as he could be.”

Gianna Bryant, who was 13 at the time of her death, was an aspiring basketball player who dreamed of one day playing for UConn and eventually in the WNBA.

“The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans would come up to me and she’ll be standing next to me, and they’ll be like, ‘You’ve gotta have a boy, you and V gotta have a boy. You gotta have somebody to carry on your tradition, the legacy,'” Bryant said on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2018. “She’s like, ‘Oy, I got this.’ I’m like, ‘That’s right. Yes, you do, you got this.'”

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