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Paul George honoring Kobe Bryant by wearing No. 8 for Philadelphia 76ers

Sixers' Paul George signing has fans thinking championship in 2024-25
Sixers' Paul George signing has fans thinking championship in 2024-25 01:09

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Paul George, the newest Philadelphia 76er, will wear No. 8 with the Sixers to honor the late Kobe Bryant. 

George made the announcement on Sunday on social media while teasing an episode of his podcast, "Podcast P with Paul George," which will come out Monday morning. 

George's two numbers he's worn in his career -- No. 13 and No. 24 -- are both retired by the Sixers. Wilt Chamberlain wore No. 13 during his time in Philly and Bobby Jones sported No. 24 in his career with the Sixers. So, George decided to go with No. 8, the number worn by Bryant, a Philadelphia native, early in his career with the Los Angeles Lakers. 

"C'mon man, I'm in Philly, my idol, the 'Bean' Kobe Bryant, my way of idolizing Kobe, and you know, something that meant something outside of 24 and 13," George said. "I like the eight, the eight looks good on me." 

Paul George, the newest Philadelphia 76er, will wear No. 8 with the Sixers to honor the late Kobe Bryant.   Podcast P with Paul George

George said it took him some time to settle on No. 8 after discussing it with his wife and evaluating other options, including numbers he wore in high school. When George hits the court for the Sixers later this year, it'll be the first time since 2015 that he isn't wearing No. 13. He wore No. 13 with the Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers. 

"Eight is a special number, man," George said. 

Bryant was born in Philadelphia and starred at Lower Merion High School before entering the 1996 NBA draft and winning five titles with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Sixers made the George signing official on Saturday night. The team inked him to a four-year, $212 million contract, a source confirmed to CBS News Philadelphia. 

George, one of the top free agents in the 2024 class, will join Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey as the team's third star. 

In the 2023-24 season with the Clippers, George made the All-Star team, averaging 22.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists and shot 41% on 3-pointers on nearly eight attempts per game. 

The Sixers have had a busy free agency by signing George, extending Maxey, signing Andre Drummond, Eric Gordon and Caleb Martin and re-signing Kelly Oubre Jr. 

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