A new chapter will begin in Paul George‘s career the next time he takes the court for the Indiana Pacers. After suffering one of the most vicious leg breaks in sports history, his journey back will no doubt be of the ‘uphill’ variety.
But whether it’s this season or next season, George will be back with a fresh look:
Paul George is in the process of changing his official jersey number to 13! The nickname PG-13 will finally be real! pic.twitter.com/YyTTW660OQ
— Basketball Forever (@Bballforeverfb) August 11, 2014
While most fans are looking at the fact that George can now officially be nicknamed ‘PG-13’ (way to go Bill Simmons), this number change is more about the next chapter in his career (even though there’s undeniably a branding aspect to it). Jersey number changes are a great way to symbolize fresh starts. You often see them happen when players change teams, but they also happen in cases like this when a player is looking for a change of pace.
The most notable and similar NBA number change that comes to mind is Kobe Bryant‘s (George ironically wore No. 24 to honor Kobe). The Black Mamba changed from No. 8 to No. 24 at the start of the 2006-07 season. He originally wanted No. 24 (his high school number – one better than Jordan) upon entering the NBA, but it was unavailable.
Looking back, you can clearly divide Bryant’s career into two parts. People will always associate the No. 8 with the Shaq years, and the No. 24 with the years when the Black Mamba led the Lakers to three straight Finals appearances.
Will we look back at George’s career in a similar way someday? It’s possible, but he’ll have to do something like win a championship with the No. 13 before fans will really take notice.