Kobe Bryant's No. 8, No. 24 Jerseys Both Will Be Retired by Lakers

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2017

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant pounds his chest after the last NBA basketball game of his career, against the Utah Jazz, Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Tuesday they will retire both the No. 8 and the No. 24 jerseys to honor Kobe Bryant this season.

ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne first reported the news. The ceremony Dec. 18 when they welcome the Golden State Warriors to Staples Center.

"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," said Bryant. "The Lakers have bestowed a huge honor on me and I'm grateful for the fans' enthusiasm around this game."

Bryant wore No. 8 from 1996 through the 2005-06 season before he switched to No. 24.

"This honor is very well deserved," said Lakers President of Basketball Operations Earvin "Magic" Johnson. "Kobe was one of the greatest Lakers and NBA players of all-time and he's definitely on my Mount Rushmore. I look forward to seeing BOTH of his jerseys be retired and celebrating this special day with Kobe and his family."

According to ESPN.com's Darren Rovell, Bryant initially selected No. 8 in part because it was the total of the numbers he had on his jersey at Adidas' ABCD Camp when he was in high school. No. 33—Bryant's number at Lower Merion High School—was retired for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Bryant appeared in 707 games while wearing No. 8. During that time, he averaged 23.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He also helped the Lakers reach four NBA Finals, and Los Angeles won three titles in a row from 1999 to 2002.

After making the switch to No. 24, Bryant played in 639 games, averaging 26.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists. The Black Mamba claimed two championships in that jersey, and his only MVP award (2007-08) came a year after the change.

Bryant retired following the 2015-16 season. In his final NBA game, he scored 60 points in a 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz.

The 39-year-old will be the 10th player to have his jersey hung in the Staples Center rafters, with Shaquille O'Neal the most recent to receive the honor.

According to ESPN.com's Adam Reisinger, Bryant will be the sixth player to have two different numbers retired, though he'll be the first with two numbers retired by the same team.