Kobe Bryant won three championships wearing no. 8 and two championships, two NBA Finals MVPs and an NBA MVP trophy wearing the no. 24. Choosing one number over the other proved to be impossible, and so, Bryant will become the 10th player in Los Angeles Lakers history to have his jersey retired but the first to have two numbers retired.
"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 team statement. "The Lakers have bestowed a huge honor on me and I'm grateful for the fans' enthusiasm around this game."
The Lakers confirmed that the ceremony to honor the five-time NBA Champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist will be held at halftime of the Dec. 18 home game against the Golden State Warriors.
Tickets to that game have jumped up to $599.95 for the cheapest seat in the top corner of the upper level 300 sections on Stubhub.com. For perspective, opening night against the LA Clippers offers tickets as low as $109 on that same ticket retailer in those same upper level sections.
Even in retirement, Bryant continues to sell tickets for the team and drive up prices for fans begging to witness "Black Mamba" history one more time.
"Kobe's jerseys are taking their rightful home next to the greatest Lakers of all time," Lakers president Jeanie Buss said in a team statement. "There was never any doubt this day would come, the only question was when. Once again, Lakers fans will celebrate our hero, and once again, our foes will envy the legendary Kobe Bryant."
Idea for @KobeBryant's statue: front has no. 8, back has no. 24.
— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) September 12, 2017
Lakers president of basketball operations Earvin "Magic" Johnson added, "Kobe was one of the greatest Lakers and NBA players of all-time and he's definitely on my Mount Rushmore. I look forward to seeing both of his jerseys be retired and celebrating this special day with Kobe and his family."
The Monday night December game between the Warriors and Lakers is scheduled to be televised nationally on NBATV and locally on Spectrum Sportsnet.