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1980s / Ray Bourque Gives Jersey to Espo
It was one of the classiest incidents in sports history. Here's the background: Phil Esposito had set numerous league and team scoring records during his tenure with the NHL's Boston Bruins from 1967 to 1975. Espo was traded to the New York Rangers in November 1975. In 1979 rookie sensation Ray Bourque was given the #7 jersey by the Bruins. He wore it reluctantly knowing that Phil Esposito was so closely associated with it. On December 3, 1987, the Bruins retired Esposito's #7 jersey but counted on Bourque to continue to wear it. Bourque, however, had other ideas. He figured the retirement ceremony was an ideal time to return #7 wholly to Espo. Only a handful of people knew what Bourque was going to do. In a surprising and touching gesture, Bourque removed his #7 jersey to reveal his new #77 jersey that he wore for the rest of his days in Boston. Esposito was clearly moved by Bourque's selfless gesture.