Philadelphia 76ers: Bobby Jones is an All-Star person for his Kobe tribute

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

In a fitting tribute to Lower Merion grad Kobe Bryant, Philadelphia 76ers Hall of Famer Bobby Jones lent his retired number to Joel Embiid.

When the Philadelphia 76ers took the court for a weeknight romp against the Golden State Warriors, it was anything like your typical basketball game.

In the Sixers’ first game since the passing of Lower Merion great-turned-Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, fans in attendance watched solemnly as the organization delivered a series of tributes to the late-great star via special pre-game uniforms, a moment of silence, a nine bell salute, and a rousing saxophone rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner.

All and all, it was a moving gesture for a player gone too soon, but quite possibly the most fitting tribute of all came during shoot around thanks in no small part to a five-time All-Star Hall of Fame power forward who hasn’t suited up for the Sixers since 1986 – the same year the team’s oldest player, Al Horford was born.

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As you may or may not know, the 76ers have the number 24 retired in honor of ‘The Secretary of Defense’, Bobby Jones. Well, at least the team had his number retired, as, after a basketball-focused phone call with the team’s current defensive secretary Joel Embiid, Jones gave the Cameroonian big man a pass to remove his numbers from the rafters and honor Bryant with a one night only number change (that’s how that works, right?).

Sure, Embiid wasn’t able to put up 60 points like his late, great idol, in large part to the lingering effects of a broken finger, but I think his willingness to come back and compete was tribute enough.

But, outside of being a Hall of Fame-caliber person, who is Bobby Jones? I’m glad you asked.

Measuring in at 6-foot-9, 210 pounds, Jones played the final eight seasons of his professional career with the Sixers from 1978-1986, where he served as the defensive cornerstone of the team’s 1983 championship-winning squad.

While he never averaged more than 14.4 points over a season in a red, white, and blue jersey, the UNC product made an NBA All-Defense team in 10 of his 11 professional seasons and played the game like your dad always said basketball used to be played (check out a Hall of Fame retrospective here). Paired up with a slew of all-time great scorers with instantly recognizable names like Dr. J, Moses, and The Round Mound of Rebound, Jones set the tone for the Sixers throughout arguably their most consistently effective decade in franchise history, all the while setting the tone in the locker room with his signature professionalism.

And with the above quote and his selfless gesture, Jones has quite literally added a new line to his Wikipedia page.

Next. How the Philadelphia 76ers weathered Joel Embiid’s finger injury. dark

So Bobby Jones, if you are reading this, thank you for allowing Joel Embiid to wear your number one final time before it returns to its rightful spot hanging from the Wells Fargo Center’s rafters, you are one Hall of Fame dude.