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Eddie Lampkin Jr. And The #44 Controversy

Every program has those special players that cement their legacy on its athletics. For Syracuse, the number 44 has been enshrined as the premier number for an athlete to wear, especially on the gridiron. The number has been hoisted into the JMA Wireless Dome rafters and is only given to players that stand out exceptionally. However, on the hardwood, there has been some backlash on whether the double fours should be worn.

Back in April, Adrian Autry and Syracuse basketball landed Eddie Lampkin Jr. from Colorado, a senior center who brings some much-needed size to a team looking to compete in the ACC. During his time in Boulder, Lampkin donned the number 44 and is slated to wear it once again in orange. On the surface, this may not seem like an issue, but many ‘Cuse fans have been a bit skeptical. More notably, SU hoops alumnus Derrick Coleman, who wore 44 during his time in Syracuse, spoke out on the number being worn by Lampkin.

It’s understandable that the Syracuse faithful would be upset about the number being worn, but also something needs to be considered. #44 is retired strictly in football in the 315, not for basketball. There’s nothing stopping Lampkin from wearing the number, as this would merely be an “unwritten rule.” A prime example of this came in the professional world back in 2017 when New York Islanders forward Joshua Ho-Sang wore #66 to honor his favorite hockey player of all time, Mario Lemieux. However, fans were displeased because of their belief that #66 should be universally retired throughout the sport, so Ho-Sang changed it amidst backlash.

But the issue here is that Orange fans believe the number should be passed down with honor and respect like it is in football rather than just chosen by Lampkin. SU athletics choose to retire “uniforms” rather than numbers, so #44 has been retired by both Derrick Coleman and John Wallace. It really boils down to this: Is Eddie Lampkin Jr. worthy of wearing a number with such high praise?

Only time will tell on that front, but as of now, Lampkin will don #44 come the fall. There isn’t much stigma surrounding the other “retired numbers” for the program, but many will always be faithful to those who have worn the highest Orange honor. Who knows? Maybe Lampkin will prove to everyone that he deserves the praise.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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