The number 42.
It's an iconic number, one that's revered by many and hated by none. No professional baseball player is allowed to wear it, and it's also a freaking movie.
All this caused by Jackie Robinson, the man who changed baseball forever.
Indeed, every Major League Baseball team retired Robinson's number for his contributions to the game. He desegregated a sport almost single-handedly and represents the notion that sports unifies people of all backgrounds, vilified, marginalized or otherwise. The number holds that much significance.
But Kevin Love, a one-and-done center for UCLA basketball, once donned the number 42. Patrick Larimore, a former linebacker for UCLA football, layed claim to the number. Aaron Porter, a freshman linebacker for the football team, currently wears the number 42.
And while all are UCLA Bruins, none have contributed to sports the way four-star athlete and UCLA Bruin Jackie Robinson has.
Thus, it's time we make a plea to UCLA athletics: Retire Robinson's iconic No. 42 across all men's sports immediately.
Because while UCLA has had some legends walk down the tunnels at Pauley Pavilion, stomp their way on to the field at the Rose Bowl, pave their path to greatness at Drake Stadium, no player's impact has transcended sports the way Robinson has.
And, in essence, Robinson is the manifestation of UCLA's tradition, not just athletically, but academically. Throughout the years, UCLA has produced game-changers like Ralphe Bunche, the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Game-changers like Tom Bradley, who is the only black mayor in Los Angeles history. Game-changers like Arthur Ashe, a legendary tennis player and perhaps the barrier-breaker in the world of professional tennis.
Except Robinson somehow exceeds all of these men in notoriety and achievement. Despite the vast amount of wall-breakers UCLA has produced, no one has come close to matching the cultural influence that Robinson has had as a baseball player and four-sport athlete at UCLA. The entire sports world recognizes Robinson as a saint, as a man whose efforts in the face of adversity brought together worlds and turned sports from entertainment to a cultural rallying point for people from all wakes of life.
The entire sports world recognizes that Robinson is universally respected, rivals and racists be damned.
It's time that UCLA does the same. It's time to retire Robinson's number across all 10 men's sports.