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Kobe Bryant will go down as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
Regardless of where he ranks in your personal basketball hierarchy, there is no denying his storied career belongs somewhere among the top of the list. An 18-time All Star and third on the NBA all-time scoring list, Bryant’s remarkable career on the court is one that will be remembered for a long time.
But for all the distinctions Bryant already has to his name, he will reportedly be adding one more to his legacy this season, when he will become the first player in NBA history to have not one, but two numbers retired by one team. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne broke the news on Twitter.
Update. BOTH of Kobe's numbers will be retired.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) September 12, 2017
The question of “Which number will the Lakers retire?” had been looming in the heads of basketball fans ever since Bryant announced his retirement. After spending the early years of his career wearing No. 8 and winning three titles with the Lakers, Bryant switched to No. 24 for the latter half of his playing days and continued his league dominance for years.
By the numbers, both the No. 8 and No. 24 iterations of Kobe Bryant could’ve likely made the Hall of Fame on their own merits, so while it might seem a bit over-the-top to retire both numbers, it’s not a preposterous as you first might think.
Bryant’s jersey retirement ceremony will take place at the Staples Center on December 18, ahead of the Lakers game against the Golden State Warriors. He will be the tenth player to have his jersey(s) retired by the Lakers, joining the likes of Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Jerry West.