LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers will retire both of Kobe Bryant’s jerseys, No. 8 and No. 24, at the Staples Center on December 18, ahead of the Lakers game against the Golden State Warriors.
The Lakers have confirmed they will retire both of the numbers Bryant wore as a Laker, local media reported on Tuesday.
Bryant spent all of his 20-year career with the Lakers. He wore No. 8 from 1996 when his career began, through the 2005-06 season before he switched to No. 24. He wore No. 24 for the remaining eight years of his career.
Bryant’s will be the 10th player jersey retired by the team. The others belonged to Wilt Chamberlain (13), Elgin Baylor (22), Gail Goodrich (25), Magic Johnson (32), Abdul-Jabbar (33), O’Neal (34), James Worthy (42), Jerry West (44) and Jamaal Wilkes (52).
The Lakers usually retire only the jerseys of players in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Bryant isn’t yet eligible for enshrinement, but the team is confident he will be inducted.
The 18-time All-Star played 20 seasons with the Lakers, winning five championships. He scored 33,643 career points, currently third on the all-time list behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
In his final NBA game, Bryant scored 60 points playing nearly the entire game in a 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz.
“He works so hard and becomes the best player he can be on the court and off the court and be a role model to everybody around Los Angeles,” high schooler Anthony Chavez told Xinhua.”
Since his retirement, Bryant has become an unofficial adviser to Buss and the Lakers. The team hired his long-time agent Rob Pelinka as general manager, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I will still love the Lakers for sure. However, there is not gonna be another Kobe, but hopefully there is another player that can take his spot and rebuilt the team here,” said Chavez, who have met Bryant when he was ten and then became a Lakers fan.