Kobe Bryant’s legacy wasn’t a simple one. It was a career that inspired great debate from beginning to end.
Will he surpass MJ? Who’s more important to the Lakers, Kobe or Shaq? Is Kobe or LeBron James the best player in the game? Is Bryant, in retirement, the greatest Los Angeles Laker ever?
Some of those debates have been settled.
Yesterday, on Monday, the Lakers officially retired Kobe Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys, hanging them from the rafters in a ceremony at halftime of the team’s game against the Golden State Warriors.
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Why are the Lakers retiring both?
In one tweet, here’s why they’re doing it.
Why are the Lakers retiring both 8 and 24?
If you take @bball_ref HOF probability and split Kobe Bryant into two separate careers, one wearing 8 and one wearing 24, he'd have a 99.8 and 99.9 pct chance of making it.
He literally had two different no doubt about it HOF careers.
— Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13) December 14, 2017
The Warriors chose to forego their normal halftime regimen in order to watch the ceremony, which was attended by former Lakers greats like Jerry West and Shaquille O’Neal.
The ceremony began with Kobe’s short film, “Dear Basketball,” played on the arena Jumbotron. Then Bryant was introduced by fellow Lakers jersey retiree Magic Johnson, and he was followed by Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.
Bryant led the Lakers to five championships, three while wearing No. 8 and two while wearing No. 24, during his 20-season career. He’s the franchise leader in several categories, including points (33,643), games played (1,346), 3-pointers made (1,827) and steals (1,944).
Bryant won two NBA Finals MVP awards and one regular-season MVP, and he retired as No. 3 on the all-time NBA points list behind Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who also has his jersey retired by the Lakers.
Watch this clip that he shared on his Instagram.