September 12, 2017, 7:50 pm
The Los Angeles Lakers announced Tuesday they plan to retire the jersey numbers of Kobe Bryant on Dec. 18 prior to the game against the Golden State Warriors,
The team will retire both of Bryant's numbers. Bryant wore both No. 8 and No. 24 during his 20 seasons with the Lakers.
"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 released by the team. "The Lakers have bestowed a huge honor on me and I'm grateful for the fans' enthusiasm around this game."
Bryant, an 18-time All-Star who won five NBA titles with the Lakers, retired following the 2015-16 campaign. He wore No. 8 for his first 10 seasons before switching to No. 24.
Bryant scored 33,643 points, third-most in NBA history behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
"Kobe's jerseys are taking their rightful home next to the greatest Lakers of all time," Lakers CEO and Controlling Owner Jeanie Buss said. "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."
"This honor is very well deserved," Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson said. "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.
Bryant sits as the Lakers all-time leader in regular season games played (1,346), points (33,643), three-pointers made (1,827), steals (1,944) and free throws made (8,378), while owning franchise playoff records for games played (220), points (5,640), three-pointers made (292) and free throws made (1,320).
Bryant will become the 10th Lakers' player to have his number retired, the others being Wilt Chamberlain (13), Elgin Baylor (22), Gail Goodrich (25), Magic Johnson (32), Abdul-Jabbar (33), Shaquille O'Neal (34), James Worthy (42), Jerry West (44) and Jamaal Wilkes (52).
Former announcer Chick Hearn also has his name in the arena rafters.