The significance of Brice Johnson’s move back to #11

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Brice Johnson /

For some players, the digits they wear on the back of their jersey are a number. But to Brice Johnson, the number 11 on his back means so much more.

With Jamal Crawford departing from the LA Clippers in free agency, Johnson is now able to switch back to the number he’s worn since October 11th, 2008.

October 11th, 2008 was the date that Johnson’s mother, Renee Johnson, passed away from colon cancer after an eighteen-month fight.

The former Tar Heel talked about the loss of his mother and the significance of the number 11 back in 2016 with reporter Brendan Marks.

"“I don’t think a lot of people understand how much that really hurts to lose your momma,” Brice says. “I miss her every day, and then the other days, it’s like, ‘Damn, I really need her here right now.’”"

Johnson posted a picture to Twitter during the Clippers’ media day announcing his move back to the number 11 with the hashtag #4herRSJ in commemoration of his mother.

The power forward had worn the number 11 during all four of his years at the University of North Carolina. However, he was unable to choose the number when he was drafted by the Clippers, as 17-year veteran Jamal Crawford had been wearing the number for the majority of his lengthy career. Johnson instead chose to wear number 10 for his rookie season.

But now that Crawford plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Johnson has reclaimed the number he wore during his successful years at UNC and looks to bounce back from his injury-ridden rookie campaign. While some fans are upset that Johnson now wears the number of Crawford, who was a fan favorite during his tenure with the Clips, it’s safe to assume that he would have no issue with the young forward honoring his mother with his jersey number.

With nine new players joining the Clippers for the 2017-2018 season, Johnson finds himself in a tough spot. He’ll have to fight for minutes behind Blake Griffin to prove himself to head coach Doc Rivers.