Kobe Bryant, pictured in 2016, will become the 10th Lakers player to have his jersey number (in this case two numbers, 8 and 24) officially retired (AFP Photo)
Los Angeles, September 13 (AFP): The Los Angeles Lakers will retire both jersey numbers worn by club legend Kobe Bryant before a December 18 game against NBA champions Golden State, the team said on Tuesday.
Bryant, an 18-time All-Star who won five NBA titles with the Lakers before retiring after the 2015-16 season, wore number eight in his first 10 seasons before switching to number 24 for another decade.
“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 statement released by the team.
“The Lakers have bestowed a huge honor on me and I’m grateful for the fans’ enthusiasm around this game.”
In his two-decade career — all spent with the Lakers — Bryant scored 33,643 points, the third-most in NBA history behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
He’ll become the 10th Lakers player to have his number retired, joining Wilt Chamberlain (13), Elgin Baylor (22), Gail Goodrich (25), Magic Johnson (32), Abdul-Jabbar (33), Shaquille O’Neal (34), James Worthy (42), Jerry West (44) and Jamaal Wilkes (52).
“This honor is very well deserved,” Lakers President of Basketball Operations Johnson said.
Bryant is the Lakers’ all-time leader in regular season games played (1,346), points (33,643), three-pointers made (1,827), steals (1,944) and free throws made (8,378), while owning club playoff records for games played (220), points (5,640), three-pointers made (292) and free throws made (1,320).