Its no surprise, but just two seasons after his retirement, the Los Angeles Lakers have announced that they will retire his jersey this fall.
The team announced earlier this week that both numbers Kobe wore during his career will be retired. He wore No. 8 during the beginning of his career, before he switched to No. 24 at the start of the 2006-07 season and throughout the remaining years of his career.
“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 statement provided by the Lakers. “The Lakers have bestowed a huge honor on me and I’m grateful for the fans’ enthusiasm around this game.”
Kobe’s jersey being retired by the Lakers is the 10th by the team, following Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, James Worthy, Jerry West and Jamaal Wilkes.
“Kobe was one of the greatest Lakers and NBA players of all time and he’s definitely on my Mt. Rushmore,” Johnson, the Lakers president of basketball operations, said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing BOTH of his jerseys be retired and celebrating this special day with Kobe and his family.”
The retirement ceremony is set to take place at halftime of the Lakers’ game against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on Dec. 18.
According to the L.A. Times, Bryant has become an unofficial advisor to Jeanie Buss and the Lakers. The team also hired his long-time agent Rob Pelinka as general manager.