What's in a number?
A lot for Marcin Gortat, when that number is 13. With Nash's departure from Phoenix, Gortat is seizing his opportunity to regain the number he wore for Poland and the Orlando Magic. The number 13 may be unlucky for some, especially those with triskaidekaphobia, but for the Polish Gazelle (what an epicene nickname) it is coveted.
Gortat plans to begin the formal process of requesting the number change now so that he can be back in the one three for the 2013-14 season. He also plans to call Nash and get his blessing.
"I'm going to call Steve," said Gortat. "I'm quite sure he'll be fine with that if I'm going to carry his number, I'm going to obviously do this with pride."
I'm not sure how I feel about Gortat needing to ask "permission" from Nash. I would gather that this is just a formality since Nash has always been very accommodating. One last assist to the Polish Machine. Then again, it is somewhat of an unusual situation since Gortat will basically just be keeping the number warm until it ascends to the rafters at some future date.
The Suns currently have nine retired numbers. Dick Van Arsdale (5), Walter Davis (6), Kevin Johnson (7), Dan Majerle (9), Tom Chambers (24), Alvin Adams (33), Charles Barkley (34), Connie Hawkins (42) and Paul Westphal (44). I don't think it's a stretch to concede number 13 to Nash when he retires.
After Amar'e Stoudemire left number 1 got passed around like a pepper shaker. When Josh Childress donned the number it was without fanfare or objection. Now it has been passed like a baton from Chilly to Goran Dragic. People have differing opinions on whether Stoudemire deserves a spot in the ring (I'm of the opinion he does), but the terms of his departure weren't nearly as tempestuous.
Nash's number seems a little bit different. During the phantasmagoria that has transmogrified the Suns' franchise this offseason, I guess I should be accustomed to bizarre and unforeseen events. This still strikes me as a little bit off. Maybe it's because it feels like another example of players showing us that they think of themselves first, each other next and the fans dead last (or not at all). The pecking order is usually pretty palpable.
Not that Gortat needs my "permission" (or anybody else's - well, except the NBA's) to change his number, but I wonder whether he even thought about what we (the fans) might think?
So what do you think?