Kevin Durant's #35 now worn by P.J. Dozier in Oklahoma City
What's the story?
For the first time since Kevin Durant's last game for the Oklahoma City, a Thunder player will wear the number 35. Undrafted rookie P.J. Dozier signed a two-way contract with OKC this past Tuesday after the Dallas Mavericks waived him. Doing a recent interview with the media, Dozier stated that the number has nothing to do with Durant, but his late cousin Reggie Lewis.
In case you didn't know...
Dozier played his college ball at the University of South Carolina. He led the Gamecocks to an improbable NCAA Final Four run this year and was named to the East Region's All-Tournament Team. South Carolina lost to eventual runner-up Gonzaga in the national semifinal.
The heart of the matter...
According to Royce Young, NBA staff writer for ESPN, Lewis saw the numbers available for him to choose, and 35 was his first choice. He didn't even think of who may have worn that number in the past.
He'd further talk about his choice for #35 in the quote below:
"Honestly I didn't even think twice about [Durant having it] when I said it because I had it in preseason when I was with Dallas," he said. "I just saw it was open and took advantage of it."
Reggie Lewis was a star for the Boston Celtics and is a second cousin of Dozier's. He passed away suddenly in 1993 at the age of 27.
The Oklahoma City Thunder kicked-off their 2017-18 season with a comfortable blowout win over the New York Knicks on TNT. It is unknown at the time of this writing if Dozier will start the year on the Thunder or their G-League affiliate the Oklahoma City Blue.
This story definitely is not as big of a deal as some will believe. With the contentious way that Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City to join the rival Golden State Warriors, many think it was a slight to him, but he's been gone a full season.
It's great to hear Dozier prove that his number choice has a lot more meaning than Oklahoma City being petty with their former superstar.