Kobe Bryant may have never played for the Dallas Mavericks during his 20-year career, but owner Mark Cuban recognizes the significant impact that he made on the NBA. Following Bryant's tragic death in a helicopter crash, Cuban and the Mavericks made a bold statement. They officially retired the No. 24 jersey in honor of the former Lakers star.
You will be dearly missed, Legend 🙏 No Maverick will ever wear 24 again. pic.twitter.com/GSrWUDcuFk— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) January 27, 2020
The announcement was made as part of a statement released by Cuban. The Mavericks owner was talking about Bryant's death and his impact on the league, and he revealed that the team would forever honor his memory with this unprecedented move.
"We are shocked and saddened by the devastating news of the passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna," the statement read. "Kobe was an ambassador for our game, a decorated legend and a global icon. Above all, he was a loving and dedicated father.
"Kobe's legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick. Our hearts go out to all the lives lost and the families impacted by this terrible tragedy. We send our thoughts and prayers to Vanessa and the family, the Lakers organization, and Kobe Bryant fans everywhere."
Cuban may be a billionaire owner of an NBA team, but he is someone that first and foremost loves basketball. This was the primary reason why he bought the team back in 2000.
"I love the Mavericks," Cuban said after taking control of the team. "I am just a huge Mavericks fan. And I have just been blessed and put in a position where I can contribute."
During his time as an owner, Cuban saw Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers struggle to perform at times, but he also saw the immense power of this California team. Bryant and his teammates reached the playoffs 12 times following Cuban's purchase and won four titles. The first championship came prior to the Mavericks changing ownership.
It's impossible to tell the story of the NBA without mentioning Bryant and the Lakers several times. His impact was significant, which is one reason for the outpouring of emotions following his death. Cuban is well aware of this fact, and he is recognizing Bryant's contributions to the sport in the best way that he can.
(Photo Credit: Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)