No one truly expected the Los Angeles Lakers to wait until Kobe Bryant was in the Hall of Fame to retire his jersey, but reports via TMZ early Tuesday morning suggested that the Lakers had picked out a date for the ceremony: Dec. 18.
That night, the Lakers host the world champions Golden State Warriors at Staples Center, and rumors of Bryant's special ceremony have already shot up ticket prices into a new stratosphere. Whereas the Lakers hosting the same Warriors team in November allows a patron to purchase the cheapest seat in the house at $127 on Stubhub.com, the December date is now selling nosebleed seating for a pricey $218 on the same site.
And no, Bryant is not going to score 60 points like he did the last time he popped up ticket prices to outrageous levels for "Mamba Day."
The biggest question about this December date is whether Bryant will send up no. 8, no. 24 or both. More than likely, it will be both. When NBCLA.com asked rookie Thomas Bryant earlier in the summer why he didn't pick the no. 8 or no. 24, the young center laughed at the thought and conveyed that those numbers were already untouchable for any current Lakers.
If no. 24 goes up in the rafters, the next player to wear no. 8 will get an arena full of Kobe stares. Likewise, if no. 8 gets lifted into the rafters, only the bravest of souls would dare ask for no. 24 in purple and gold.
Of course, the next question after Bryant's jersey hangs in the rafters is when, not if, he'll get his statue outside Staples Center. Judging by the way this jersey retirement is being fast tracked, plans for the statue are likely already underway.
Update: ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported that the Lakers will indeed retire both no. 8 and no. 24 in the ceremony.