LA Lakers showed how unprecedented the NBA career of Kobe Bryant was during his time at the club by having to retire two jerseys in his honour during half time of the game against The Golden State Warriors on Monday.
The NBA legend, who was a member of the Lakers’ playing squad for 20 careers seasons between 1996 and 2016, began his career in the number 8 jersey joining directly from high school, before switching to number 24 in the 2006-2007 campaign.
Bryant played 707 games, averaging 23.1 points per game with the number 8 jersey and also won three NBA titles with the same number.
He then switched to number 24, then going ahead to play 639 games more in the jerse and winning two more NBA titles, averaging 26.3 points per game, prompting the two numbers to be retired by the Eastern conference franchise and thereby becoming the first player in NBA history to have two numbers retired by the same team and also the 10th player to receive the honour of having his jerseys retired.
The list also includes the likes of Johnson, Jamaal Wilkes, Gail Goodrich, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Elgin Baylor, James Worthy, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain.
He said: “Thank you so much for tonight, I feel great, I’m very proud I get to come here with my family. It feels good as a father to have my family come in and share this.
“It’s not about the jerseys that are hanging up there for me. It’s about the jerseys that were hanging up there before. They inspired me to play the game at a high level.”
Some of the 39-year-old career high achievements include being the;
2008 NBA MVP
Two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also
Two-time NBA scoring champion and a
Two-time Olympic champion.
Lakers’ all-time point scorer
Third on the NBA’s all-time list with 33,643 points.
In his final game, he also became the oldest player in NBA history to score 60 points.
Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant stole some of Bryant’s thunder as the former Oklahoma City Thunder forward scored 36 points and hit a tie-breaking 22-foot jumper with 7.3 seconds left in overtime.
The Lakers day of celebration ended in misery as the Warriors ended up winning 116-114.