Darius Slay-- one of the best defensive backs in the NFL -- says he's changing his jersey number from #23 to #24 ... and it's all to honor Kobe Bryant.
Slay was just traded from the Detroit Lions to the Philadelphia Eagles -- Kobe's favorite team. And, since Darius is looking for a fresh start, he felt a number change was in order -- and with #24 available, he scooped it right up!
"I'm rockin' with that two-four this year," Slay said on IG ... "Kobe mode. Black Mamba baby. Rest in peace to the GOAT! One of my favorite players."
"Playing for Kobe's favorite NFL team is a dream come true," Slay said on Instagram, "Man, it's truly a blessing."
Slay rocked #23 for all 6 years he played with the Lions. Before that, it was #9 at Mississippi State. And, #4 during his high school days. So, it's not like there's a prior connection.
The #24 jersey was previously worn in Philly by RB Jordan Howard -- but he signed with the Miami Dolphins last week ... leaving the number wide open.
"I think I'm gonna look good in 24," Slay adds.
Slay is expecting to rock #24 for at least the next 3 years in Philly -- since the Eagles made him the highest-paid CB in the league with a 3-year deal worth $50 million.
Oh, and in case you were wondering ... the #8 jersey in Philly belongs to backup QB Kyle Lauletta. He got the number when he signed with the tea back in 2019.