Gimme the digits

Athletes reveal the inspiration behind their jersey numbers

Ian Blackburn and Ryshel Sampson

Athletes can develop a certain affinity towards the number they wear on their jersey. Former NBA MVP Kevin Durant wears the number 35 in honor of his first basketball coach, Charles Craig, who died from gunshot wounds at the age of 35. Captain of the U.S. national soccer team and Seattle Sounder Clint Dempsey wears the number 2 because it was the first jersey number he ever wore and was his number in college.

Sometimes it’s a meaningful backstory. Sometimes it’s just an arbitrary digit that ends up sticking. At Cleveland, some athletes have a meaningful reason for choosing their jersey number; while some simply become attached to the number they were assigned. Here are some of the reasons why Cleveland’s athletes chose their jersey number:

Giavanni Flowers
Girls Basketball
“I wear 22 to honor my little sister; her nick name is Tutu.”

Matthew Sadang
“I got the No. 2 randomly and I just liked it a lot.”

Omar Grey
Boys Basketball
“I wear No.  11 because in one of my middle school basketball games I had a breakout game, and the crowd was yelling my number.”

Kenzo Yoshitomi
Ultimate Frisbee

Lauren Lee
“I was given this number as a freshman and decided to stick with it for all four years.”

Abdi Abdi
“I wear the No. 43 because that’s the jersey number of my favorite player on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Troy Polamalu.”

Davon Bolton
Boys Basketball
“I wear No. 1 because when I’m on the court I have the confidence that I’m the number one player … and nobody is better than me.”