Is it really that meaningful and important to wear a legend’s number?
New Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch was assigned the iconic number “24”, which was once worn by retired Raider and All-Pro Charles Woodson when he became a member of the team. But just how meaningful is that number in the grand scope of things?
Marshawn Lynch officially will wear No. 24 with the Raiders. Charles Woodson approved the jersey assignment, Lynch's mother told @957thegame
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) April 26, 2017
Woodson said via ESPN, that “I’m excited about it for Marshawn to have a chance to come home and play in front of friends and family” and that “I don’t think there’s anybody more worthy than Marshawn to wear that number.”
Knowing that the Raiders have never retired any numbers and players can wear other players numbers, with the exception of Jim Otto’s 00 and it’s because of the system the NFL uses to give numbers to players, not because the Raiders retired it. They just might see numbers as they are, digits in sequence to know and to be aware who the quarterback is throwing the football to.
If a player really respects another one, why doesn’t he wear another number to show that he looks up to him? Wanting to wear the same number means that the said player might think that he’s as good or better than the one he looks up to? And shouldn’t an athlete wear a different number to make a name for him or herself?
Numbers are just that, numbers and as much as we identify some athletes with them, the number is not the one that defines the player, but rather the other way around. Some players just wear “x” number for the sake of it and others actually get paid to give away their numbers.
Numbers in themselves are not the cool ones, the ones we create pleasant memories of; the players are the ones that make them significant and the ones that we should root for.