Kobe Bryant: Los Angeles Lakers retiring legend's numbers vs. Golden State Warriors

By The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 17, 2017 at 4:36 PM
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The Los Angeles Lakers will retire Kobe Bryant's jersey numbers 8 and 24 in a halftime ceremony Monday when the Lakers host the defending champion Golden State Warriors at the 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," Bryant said in a statement. "The Lakers have bestowed a huge honor on me and I'm grateful for the fans' enthusiasm around this game."

Bryant will become the 10th player in Los Angeles Lakers history to earn this distinction, joining Wilt Chamberlain (13), Elgin Baylor (22), Gail Goodrich (25), Earvin "Magic" Johnson (32), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33), Shaquille O'Neal (34), James Worthy (42), Jerry West (44) and Jamaal Wilkes (52).

Golden State coach Steve Kerr, who grew up a Lakers fan, has made it known the Warriors will sacrifice halftime instruction in the locker room by staying on the court to observe the retirement ceremony.

"Just the experience in seeing one of the greatest players in the history of the game getting his jersey retired and we happen to be there," Kerr said after practice Saturday. "I'm not going to keep them in the locker room to watch tape of the first half. The players would look at me like I was nuts. There's something interesting going on the floor. Let's go out there."

Bryant, an 18-time All-Star, retired as the first player in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons with the same franchise, capping off his career with a 60-point performance vs. Utah on April 13, 2016.

He helped lead the Lakers to five NBA Championships (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010), and earning Finals MVP honors in 2009 and 2010. Voted the NBA's Most Valuable Player in 2008, Bryant earned First Team All-NBA honors 11 times and was a member of the All-Defensive First Team nine times.

Bryant is the Lakers' career 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). He also owns franchise playoff records for games played (220), points (5,640), 3-pointers made (292) and free throws made (1,320).

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