Los Angeles Lakers legend and future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant will become the first player in NBA history to have two different numbers retired by the same team when his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys are raised to the rafters on Monday night.
Bryant’s original #8 came from Adidas ABCD Camp, 143, whose digits add up to the number 8, which is also the number he wore in Italy, according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN.
Bryant switched to No. 24 in the 2006-07 season, which is the number he had in high school at Lower Merion.
“When I first came in at 8, is really trying to ‘plant your flag’ sort of thing,” Bryant said.
“I got to prove that I belong here in this league. I’ve got to prove that I’m one of the best in this league. You’re going after them. It’s nonstop energy and aggressiveness and stuff.”
“Then 24 is a growth from that,” Bryant continued.
“Physical attributes aren’t there the way they used to be, but the maturity level is greater. Marriage, kids. Start having a broader perspective being one of the older guys on the team now, as opposed to being the youngest. Things evolve.”
The Lakers are retiring both numbers to honor the legendary career of Bryant, who will go down as one of the greatest players in NBA history.