Detroit Pistons’ Markieff Morris changing jersey number to honor Kobe Bryant

Detroit Pistons Markieff Morris. (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Markieff Morris. (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Detroit Pistons forward Markieff Morris is switching out of jersey No. 8 to honor Kobe Bryant, and instead will wear No. 88.

Markieff Morris is joining a player-led movement to honor Kobe Bryant by changing his number from Bryant’s No. 8.

Morris, who spent his first five seasons with the Phoenix Suns playing against Bryant, will wear No. 88 for the Pistons to double down on honoring Bryant. The 30-year-old forward was wearing No. 8 for the first time in his pro career with the Pistons. He previously wore No. 11 with the Suns and No. 5 last season, split between the Wizards and Thunder.

Bryant tragically died Sunday in a helicopter crash that killed eight other people, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant. She had dreams of playing for UConn and then the WNBA and the helicopter was heading to an AAU practice.

Morris announced his decision during Wednesday’s media sessions at shootaround in Brooklyn.

"“I’m just gonna go double 8s. All for Kobe. I’m just going to put it on my jersey twice,” he said."

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It join a greater movement that has included five players making jersey switches. Morris is the fourth to abandon No. 8. Former Piston Spencer Dinwiddie will wear No. 26 in the ESPN showdown against his former team Wednesday night.

Dinwiddie is even making good on his switch to fans, who want to trade in a No. 8 Dinwiddie jersey they purchased and will give them a No. 26 jersey, he announced on Twitter. He’s going to cover the cost for the first 260 fans.

Magic forward Terrence Ross is switching to No. 31 — putting Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 to honor him. Clippers forward Maurice Harkless will wear No. 11.

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The fifth change is from Quinn Cook, a reserve point guard for the Lakers. He wore No. 2 but is switching to No. 28. His former number was that of Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, and he chose 28 to combine Gigi’s No. 2 and Kobe’s No. 8.

As the NBA continues to mourn the loss of an icon, it’s heartwarming to see teams honoring him. The Pistons honored Kobe in Monday’s game at Little Caesars Arena in a variety of ways, including taking an eight-second backcourt violation after the Cavs took a 24-second shot clock violation to open the game.

Wednesday’s meeting in Brooklyn is the Nets’ first home game since Bryant’s death. Kyrie Irving, who looked up to Bryant as a role model, is expected to play after missing Sunday’s game at the Knicks.

The Nets beat the Pistons 121-111 in overtime in the Motor City on Saturday.

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