Lakers Debating Which Kobe Bryant Jersey Number to Retire

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 1, 2015

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles against the Portland Trail Blazers during the second half of the basketball game at Staples Center November 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

As the Los Angeles Lakers prepare for life without Kobe Bryant when the 2015-16 season ends, the front office is facing a conundrum when it comes to which of the future Hall of Famer's jersey numbers should be eventually retired.

According to a report Tuesday from TMZ Sports, the Lakers front office will hold meetings to determine if they will retire Bryant's No. 8 or No. 24. 

"We have had a couple very casual and preliminary conversations internally about this over the past few years," a Lakers spokesperson told TMZ. "But now that Kobe has officially announced a retirement date, I anticipate we will discuss this more formally in the coming weeks and months."

If the Lakers let Bryant make the decision, it will likely be his current number.

Kevin Ding, writing for the Orange County Register in April 2013, reported Bryant's preference is to have his Lakers' No. 24 jersey retired. 

Bryant wore the No. 8 for the first 10 years of his career (1996-2006) and won three of his five NBA titles in that uniform. He made the switch to No. 24 starting with the 2006-07 season as a tribute to the jersey number he had at Lower Merion High School, per ESPN.com's Darren Rovell.

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Since taking on the No. 24 with the Lakers, Bryant has won two more NBA titles, two NBA Finals MVP awards and one NBA MVP award. 

There's no question that Bryant will have his number retired by the Lakers at some point. Using the No. 24 would make sense from his perspective, because it was the uniform in which he carved out his own identity with the Lakers, leading the franchise to titles without Shaquille O'Neal

Yet, the No. 8 was Bryant's signature for so long, including when he dropped 81 points on the Toronto Raptors, that there is no wrong answer in this debate.