ESPN reports on Tuesday that the Los Angeles Lakers will retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys on Dec. 18, before the Lakers’ game against the Golden State Warriors. The reports about Bryant’s jersey being retired have surfaced earlier, but there was a question about which of his two numbers will be retired. It looks like the Lakers have decided to make the choice easy and just retire both of them. Although Lakers usually retire the jerseys of Hall of Fame players, there is no doubt that Kobe Bryant will surely become one of them.
Bryant wore No. 8 jersey during his first 10 seasons as a Laker before switching to No. 24 following the 2005-06 season. With No. 8 on his back, Bryant won 3 NBA championships, adding 2 more with No. 24. Bryant retired in 2016, ending his career with 5 championships, 18 All-Star appearances, and 33,643 career points.This puts him on the 3rd place of the NBA All-Time Points Leaders behind Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
In 2013, Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register reported that if he had to choose, Bryant would rather have No. 24 retired. “When the day comes that Kobe Bryant’s jersey is retired by the Lakers, it will go on the Staples Center wall as No. 24, not No. 8. That’s Bryant’s preference, and so it shall be.” – wrote Ding. According to Sports Illustrated, Kobe Bryant wore No. 24 in high school, later switching to No. 33. After he came to the Lakers in 1996, No. 24 was already taken by George McCloud and No. 33 was retired in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s honor.
Lakers have honored 9 players so far by retiring their jerseys. Those players are Wilt Chamberlain (13), Elgin Baylor (22), Gail Goodrich (25), Magic Johnson (32), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33), Shaquille O’Neal (34), James Worthy (42), Jerry West (44) and Jamaal Wilkes (52). If the reports turn out to be true, Bryant will become 10th member of the Los Angeles Lakers to have his jersey retired, but the first one to have 2 numbers hanging in the Staples Center.