John Wall and Russell Westbrook were traded for each other and each changed their jersey numbers once they joined their new teams. It turns out Wall's reason for doing so with the Rockets was very similar to why Westbrook did so with the Wizards.
Just like Westbrook, Wall went back to his youth to choose a number. And also like Westbrook, he had trouble getting the one he wanted at different stops because it was retired.
"I’m a new city with a new team and thought I would change my number. I used to wear No. 1 a little bit when I was in middle school and AAU growing up, so I know how that number feels to me," Wall told reporters on Zoom.
"I can’t get 11 no matter what team I went to because it was always retired. So, I couldn’t get that number back, so I thought one would be dope."
Wall wore No. 11 at the University of Kentucky, but was unable to with the Wizards because it was the jersey of Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes. Hayes' No. 11 hangs in the rafters at Capital One Arena.
Wall decided to add the two digits together to come up with No. 2. In Houston, he couldn't choose No. 11 because it was retired for Yao Ming.
The No. 1 jersey in Houston has a solid history behind it. Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady wore it and so did Wall's former teammate Trevor Ariza. It was also worn by Wizards head coach Scott Brooks, ironically.
Now Wall can write his own legacy with it as a member of the Rockets.