9.17.2022 – I always had a

I always had a
motto – I make the number
number don’t make me

Reading the article, Julio Jones primed for a revival with Buccaneers after strong start as Tom Brady target, I enjoyed a bit of writing and a quote from Mr. Jones.

Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY wrote that:

“Julio can play,” Bucs coach Todd Bowles trumpeted on Sunday night, echoing the tone he expressed during training camp. “We keep saying it all along. He got in shape. He got healthy. He’s a warrior. He’s one of those guys that’s going to come out every week and compete.”

He’s also a guy with a new ID.

Jones is wearing No. 6 for the Bucs. It’s nothing sentimental, nothing superstitious.

“It’s just a number, man,” he said. “I didn’t want to take nobody out of their number. It was, ‘Whatever’s available, I’m going to take it.’ No significance.”

Brady’s backup, Blaine Gabbert, wears No. 11 for the Bucs. Third-string quarterback Kyle Trask is No. 2, the jersey number Jones had last year with the Tennessee Titans.

“I always had a motto, man: I make the number, the number don’t make me,” Jones declared. “That’s how I go about it

I liked that.

I always had a motto, man: I make the number, the number don’t make me.

I am reminded of being back in High School at Grand Rapids Creston in the late 1970’s.

This was in the OLD GYM Creston before they built the new gym and way before the decision was made to close the school.

The OLD GYM was so small that in winter months gym class took turns between the boys and girls and who got to use the gym and who had an alternative class.

Alternative meant a movie or maybe a Gym Teacher led lecture class on some topic.

One teacher I had like to give a quiz on sports rules to see what we didn’t know about sports.

He would call on individual students one at a time.

One time, I got this this question.

What are the limits on numbers on basketball uniforms and why?

I did not understand the question.

The teacher rephrased it as what numbers can you have on a basketball uniform and why?

That didn’t help.

The teacher, Don Edwards, who really was pretty cool but thought I was one of the oddest people he had ever had in class, stared at me and said, “Come on Hoffman.”

I felt out of place in gym class often but rarely did I feel stupid and at that moment I felt really dumb.

I stared right back and said, “Okay, I give up. What numbers CAN you have in basketball and why.”

Coach Edwards shook his head and said, “Oh come on. You can only have combinations of 1 thru 5.”

That was the dumbest thing I had ever heard.

“You know, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 or 51, 52, 53, 54, 55 … 31,32, 33, 34, 35 … only combinations of 1 through 5.”

My eyes must have glazed over as I listened but I did manage to say, “Why?”

“So the ref can signal the scorer with the number of any player with two hands.”

Coach Edwards them demonstrated, “Foul on number 15.”

And he held up 1 finger on the left hand and 5 fingers on the right.

“Basket by number 33” and he help up three and three.

At once I was struck by the meaning and the simple magic in it.

Basketball numbers had limits.

Limits created by the five fingers on our hands.

I understood.

That made 33 THE number to have.

Think of the great 33’s (starting the list with Cazzie Russell)

I understood.

And in that moment I suddenly understood the magic involved in the silent protest and statement of using an illegal number.

DR J and number 6.

Big Bob Lanier wearing number 16.

I understood.

I make the number, the number don’t make me.

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