NBA NEWS

Lakers retiring Kobe Bryant’s numbers on Monday

The Sports Xchange

December 17, 2017 at 12:49 pm.

Apr 13, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) heads off the court after being replaced by Los Angeles Lakers forward Ryan Kelly (not pictured) in the final seconds of the Lakers win over the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. Bryant scored 60 points in the final game of his NBA career. Photo Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 13, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) heads off the court after being replaced by Los Angeles Lakers forward Ryan Kelly (not pictured) in the final seconds of the Lakers win over the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. Bryant scored 60 points in the final game of his NBA career. Photo Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

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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