The LA Lakers are honoring Kobe Bryant by retiring his jersey number. They’re not just retiring one number though. The organization has decided to double up and retire both numbers of their former superstar. During a home game of December 18 when the Lakers host the Golden State Warriors, there will be a ceremony at halftime to retire Bryant’s numbers, as announced by the Lakers.
When TMZ Sports first broke the news about the Lakers plan to retire Bryant’s number, there was a quick debate as to which number they would raise.
Ramona Shelburne killed that debate when she reported on Twitter that both number 8 and number 24 will be retired by the Lakers.
Update. BOTH of Kobe’s numbers will be retired.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) September 12, 2017
In the announcement by the Lakers, Bryant mentioned that he was honored when they decided to raise both of his numbers to the rafters of the Staples Center.
“As a kid growing up in Italy, I always dreamed of my jersey hanging in the Lakers rafters, but I certainly never imagined two of them.”
Lakers CEO Jeanie Buss said there was never a doubt that Bryant’s jersey number would be retired.
“There was never any doubt this day would come, the only question was when. Once again, Lakers fans will celebrate our hero, and once again, our foes will envy the legendary Kobe Bryant.”
Fellow Lakers legend and President of Lakers Basketball Operations, Magic Johnson hails Kobe as one of the greatest who’s ever played the game.
“Kobe was one of the greatest Lakers and NBA players of all-time and he’s definitely on my Mount Rushmore. I look forward to seeing BOTH of his jerseys be retired and celebrating this special day with Kobe and his family.”
Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka acknowledged Bryant’s impact on the team where he spent all 20 years of his professional career.
“Kobe carried the torch for the Lakers for 20 seasons, keeping the franchise at the forefront of the NBA following the ‘Showtime’ Era. Beyond the championship banners and individual accolades, Kobe’s ‘Mamba Mentality’ is something the Lakers will always try to emulate. It alone daily inspires all of us to strive for greatness. Kobe’s loyalty and dedication to his craft make him one of the most iconic superstars in sports history. The full impact he has on this game and on future generations will not be fully recognized for a long, long time.”
In the 20 years Bryant spent with the Lakers he amassed several personal and team accolades. The Black Mamba helped the Lakers win five championships in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010. He was recognized as the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2008 and has been voted as an All-Star 18 times. Bryant is currently third in the NBA all-time list for scoring with a total of 33,643 points. He leads the Lakers in several categories including points, games played (1,346), playoff games played (220) and points in the playoffs (5,640).
Bryant joins fellow Lakers Wilt Chamberlain (13), Elgin Baylor (22), Gail Goodrich (25), Magic Johnson (32), KareemAbdul- Jabbar (33), Shaquille O’Neal (34), James Worthy (42), Jerry West (44) and Jamaal Wilkes (52) whose numbers have also been retired.
Photos from the NBA and Getty