There’s a new number eight in Tinseltown.
No, Kobe Bryant hasn’t come out of retirement to join forces with LeBron James, but another sports superstar will don the iconic number as a nod to the five-time NBA Champion.
Manny Machado, the Los Angeles Dodgers newest acquisition, has put to rest the speculation that he would try and continue to wear the No. 13, by instead choosing the No. 8 as a tribute to his favorite player, future Hall of Fame basketball player and Laker legend, Kobe Bryant.
Machado has worn the number 13 for the entirety of his career with the Baltimore Orioles, leading many to assume that he would try and find a way to work out a deal with Dodgers’ infielder Max Muncy who currently wears the “unlucky” number.
Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen even volunteered to pay Muncy for the number exchange saying about Machado, “he deserves it.”
However, according to AM570’s David Vassegh who was in Milwaukee for the first game of the second half of the season between the Dodgers and Brewers on Friday, said Muncy was never asked to change numbers, and Muncy said he would have been more than willing to trade numbers with Machado had he asked.
Machado instead opted for a fresh start with a new number, telling Spectrum SportsNetLA’s Alanna Rizzo that he choose the No. 8 because it signified “new beginnings,” and for his love of Kobe Bryant.
“Honestly, I wanted a new change,” said Machado of why he chose the number eight. “The number eight, I didn’t know this, but when I spoke on the phone with Dave [Roberts] he told me that eight is for new beginnings. I picked it for a new beginning and a new journey. Everything is going to change, and one of my favorite basketball players as well is from LA, Mr. Kobe Bryant, I had to go there and put that number on.”
Machado was asked if Bryant would be excited that the newest superstar to play in Los Angeles chose his number as an homage to the Black Mamba.
“I hope so,” said Machado. “He got a lot of rings in LA, so maybe I can hopefully bring one. I’m just excited to put this jersey on. Put the Dodger Blue on and go out there and win.”
The bible says that the number eight represents resurrection and regeneration, something that Machado is looking to do with the Dodgers in the next chapter of his baseball career.
Dodgers’ bench coach, Bob Geren, had previously worn the number eight, and before that, former manager Don Mattingly. Geren agreed to switch to No. 16, previously worn by Andre Either, so that Macadho could wear eight.
Bryant wore the No. 8 jersey for the first ten years of his career, winning three NBA titles in the historic number.
Machado admitted he named his dog, Kobe, and that his wife is a die-hard Lakers fan and they enjoy spending time in L.A. and dining at a few of their favorite restaurants in the offseason.
Fans will be able to see Machado at Dodger Stadium for the first time on Monday, July 30 when the team returns for a six-game homestand.
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