Kobe Bryant was the first round 13th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft for the Charlotte Hornets. After just five days, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Charlotte Hornets made a trade agreement for Kobe Bryant and he signed with the Lakers on July 1, 1996.
On December 18, 2017, his numbers 8 and 24 were retired as the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center. https://apnews.com/8edeaff5f8014af397940e69342371f5/Shooting-for-2:-Lakers-retire-Kobe-Bryant%27s-8-and-24-jerseys. Former teammate Shaquille O’Neal fired up the crowd with his DJ expertise and Lakers President, Magic Johnson was in attendance for the retiring of the number 8 jersey, which Bryant wore from 1996 until the end of the 2005-06 season and then switched to number 24 until his retirement. Bryant came out onto the court as though it was his first time.
Kobe Bryant is one of five players that played for 20 seasons in the NBA. He’s the first player to have played with the same team for 20 seasons. He was the 3rd leading scorer in the NBA, 18-time NBA All-Star, 2008 MVP, scored 33,643 points in his career. He scored 16,777 while wearing number 8 and 16,866 while wearing number 24. His ability to score helped the Lakers win five NBA Championships. The Lakers generally don’t retire jerseys until the player has been inducted into the Hall of Fame, Bryant; however, isn’t eligible until 2021. The Lakers made an exception to the rule and decided to accept Kobe’s numbers into retirement.
Kobe Bryant reflected about the past jerseys hanging on the wall, they are the players that inspired him to play hard and enabled him to reach the highest level of basketball. He was especially grateful that his family was there by his side. Kobe was honored to play for the Lakers for 20 seasons and the Lakers were proud that he wore purple and gold all those years.
Unfortunately, Kobe wasn’t able to stay for the remainder of the Lakers and the Warriors, but the Lakers lost in overtime 116-114.