Lakers Retire Both of Kobe Bryant’s Numbers on Special Night
From Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Bill Russell, the Staples Centre really was Hollywood for a night as all the stars came together on a night where Kobe Bryant was honoured by the Los Angeles Lakers organization.
For two decades, Bryant donned the purple and gold as part of one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. Over that 20-year span, Bryant delivered five championships, cracking 18-All Star teams in the process. A lengthy resume, Bryant’s list of accomplishments also includes one league MVP, four All-Star Game MVPS, and two scoring titles. On Monday night, the Lakers repaid the legendary guard by retiring both his #8 and #24 jerseys in front of a sold out Staples Centre crowd.
“Thank you so much for tonight. But it’s not about my jerseys that are hanging up there for me,” Bryant said to the sea of Lakers fans. “It’s about the jerseys that were hanging up there before. Without them, I couldn’t be here today. They inspired me to play the game at a higher level.
“It’s also about the fans. … I don’t think you guys understand how present you guys were with me. You guys were there at 5:30 in the morning when I was running the track and I was midway through my workout. I didn’t know if I could make it through, and I thought about the expectations you guys had for me, you had for our team. And it pushed me through.”
Going down as one of the greatest players in NBA history, Bryant’s insane work ethic and drive, along with his will to win will never be forgotten by both players and fans. And even on what was meant to be his night, Bryant continued to be as humble as ever.
“It’s about embodying the spirit that exists in those jerseys up there and carrying this organization forward, so that the next 20 years is better than the past 20 years,” Bryant said.
It was a special night for the entire Bryant family as well as for the Lakers organization, and Bryant’s career accomplished have been recognized all around the league.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) December 19, 2017
— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) December 19, 2017
— Gordon Hayward (@gordonhayward) December 19, 2017
— Tony Parker (@tonyparker) December 19, 2017
Congratulations Kobe Bryant! Hail Momba, too. Two Jersey’s retired is one way to measure your impact for the Lakers. The GOAT measure is:🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆
— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) December 18, 2017
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) December 18, 2017