Kobe Bryant is arguably one of the greatest players to play in the NBA. But he’s also arguably one of the greatest players to ever don a Lakers jersey.
That’s why on December 18, during halftime of the Lakers’ game against the Golden State Warriors, the franchise will retire not just one, but two of Kobe Bryant’s jersey numbers.
The Black Mamba will become the 10th player in Lakers history to have his number (in this case two numbers) retired. The previous nine were 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).
“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,” Bryant said in a report on Lakers.com. “The Lakers have bestowed a huge honor on me and I’m grateful for the fans’ enthusiasm around this game.”
Kobe spent 20 years with the purple and gold franchise. He wore no. 8 from 1996-2006 and during that time he won three NBA championships, became an 8-time All-Star and won two All-Star MVPs.
In 2006, he shifted to no. 24 and went on to win two more titles, an MVP trophy and was named Finals MVP twice. He also garnered ten more All-Star selections.
Kobe, who ended his acclaimed career with a 60-point game against the Utah Jazz, is third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 33,643 points.
No doubt Bryant will end up in the Basketball Hall of Fame in a few years.