Celtics

Celtics

Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie swapped his No. 8 jersey for No. 26 on Tuesday out of respect for Kobe Bryant. Several other NBA players have followed suit.

Is Kemba Walker next?

The Boston Celtics guard said he's considering giving up No. 8 as a tribute to Bryant, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others.

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But Walker also said he's leaning toward keeping the number to continue honoring Bryant's legacy. It appears Danny Ainge would approve of that decision.

"I think there are ways to honor people without just retiring jerseys," Ainge told 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich" on Thursday. "I think Kemba has a tough decision, and there seems to be a little bit of pressure on him as some players have changed their numbers.

"But personally, I think Kobe would be honored -- and Kobe's wife and family would be honored -- if Kemba Walker was wearing Kobe's jersey and remain(ed) wearing that jersey."

Ainge added he doesn't have a strong opinion on what Walker chooses, but that he "prefer(s) to honor people with the lives you live and not necessarily with ceremonies."

Walker certainly has done No. 8 justice so far this season, averaging 22.3 points and five assists per game while being named an All-Star starter. He also plays with a tenacity that Ainge believes is a fitting tribute to Bryant, who wore No. 8 during his first 10 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.

 

For the record, Ainge also doesn't believe the Celtics need to retire Bryant's No. 8 and/or No. 24 jerseys as part of a league-wide tribute to the Lakers legend.

"Personally, I wouldn't," Ainge said, noting the decision ultimately would fall to Celtics lead owner Wyc Grousbeck. "If it's not something you'd do while someone is living, I'm not sure it's something you should do when they pass."

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