Informally known as “The Black Mamba”, former Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is set to have his jersey retired by the franchise on December 18th, a game in which Los Angeles is scheduled to host the Golden State Warriors. Which number is be the one to be left untouched? #8? #24? According to sources within the NBA, the Lakers intend to retire both numbers later this year.
The 20-year veteran went on to win five championships in purple and gold, along with scoring 33,643 career points, which is only less than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
Bryant will enter an elite club of Lakers legends to have their numbers retired, including Wilt Chamberlain (13), Elgin Baylor (22), Gail Goodrich (25), Magic Johnson(32), Abdul-Jabbar (33), O’Neal (34), James Worthy (42), Jerry West (44) and Jamaal Wilkes (52).
The former-superstar will also join Oscar Robertson, Julius Erving, and Earl Malone as the only individuals in NBA history to have multiple numbers retired. In a separate fact, Bryant is the only aforementioned name to have multiple numbers retired by the same franchise.
While Michael Jordan may have used the #45 later in his career, the Chicago Bulls ultimately elected to retire the #23 in his honor, as he was far more notorious under that jersey number.
This is a once in a lifetime event, and it could very well be an accomplishment that is never again touched in NBA history. How often do we see players switch numbers and remain on the same franchise? Better yet, how many superstars do we see start and finish their careers with one franchise in today’s game?
According to pricing rumors, the cheapest ticket on December 18th to get into the Staples Center will be $795, as season ticket holders were previously warned to hold onto their tickets for this staggering event.
Bryant is unquestionably one of the best scorers in NBA history, and while he may not be on the same level of Michael Jordan in the eyes of most, he contained a unique killer instinct that is difficult to uphold in today’s league.
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