Shaquille O’Neal might have a giant hanging sculpture at the Staples Center, but the Los Angeles Lakers are honoring his teammate Kobe Bryant with two jersey retirements.
Merry Christmas Kobe Bryant!!!! The Los Angeles Lakers gave Kobe an early Christmas present on Tuesday by announcing that they will retire both of his jerseys on Dec. 18.
According to TMZ, the Lakers sent their season-ticket holders a letter telling them to hold on to their tickets for the game against the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 18 for a “special event.”
When the announcement was made, the only question was which of Bryant’s jerseys would be retired? No. 8 or No. 24? Ramona Shelburne of ESPN confirmed that both of Kobe’s jerseys would be retired.
Update. BOTH of Kobe's numbers will be retired.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) September 12, 2017
Kobe wore No. 8 at the beginning of his career. He switched to No. 24 at the start of the 2006-07 season.
Bryant hasn’t commented on the news but has often said that the Lakers are family to him.
“The Lakers are my family,” he told Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times last spring. “I’ll always be available for Jeanie [Buss] and the whole organization. They know I’m only a phone call away.”
Kobe retired after the 2015-16 season and played his entire 20-year career in Los Angeles. He won five championships, was an 18-time All Star and is third on the all-time scoring list behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
According to ESPN, Kobe is the 10th player to have his jersey retired by the Lakers joining Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Magic Johnson, Adul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, James Worthy, Jerry West, and Jamaal Wilkes.
Congrats Kobe. Now, will the Lakers beat the Warriors on Dec. 18 in his honor? We’ll have to tune in to find out.