Suns' Hamed Haddadi changes jersey number as a tribute to native Iran
Newly acquired Phoenix Suns center Hamed Haddadi decided to switch his jersey number to digits that have some significance for him. The change comes after being traded by the Memphis Grizzlies as part of the Rudy Gay deal in February.
According to ESPNs NBA reporter Arash Markazi, the switch was made from his old number, 15, to 98 as a sort of homage to his native Iran; the new number 98 represents Iran's telephone country code when dialing from the United States.
Haddadi is the only Iranian to make it to the NBA and has made a name for himself by helping Iran's national team to the 2007 and 2009 FIBA Asia championships. But the 7'2" big man has been used sparingly throughout his career in the NBA. This season, he is averaging 1.2 points in 6.7 minutes per game.