Kobe Bryant says he was two different people with the Lakers, which is why the team will be retiring two numbers for the former guard.
When the Lakers announced they’d be retiring both No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys for Bryant, many were confused as to why, since not many athletes get two different numbers to go up on the same rafters.
In an interview with Complex, Bryant explained that he was basically two different players when he wore each jersey number.
“It’s crystal clear to me because it’s almost two different people in a sense. Of having a certain mentality of coming into the league where you’re literally head-hunting everyone. Right? Because it’s your time to establish yourself and say, ‘No, I belong here.’ As a result, everybody must go,” Bryant said. “Then when you hit a certain maturity level, which is where 24 is, it becomes less about your self-domination, it becomes ‘How can I help others grow?’ How can I lead a group of guys to get to a certain level as a group? And that’s a really big distinction.”
Bryant was later asked what advice 24 would give 8 if the two were to talk.
“I think with 24 and his really old grandfatherly wisdom would say just keep head-hunting because that is how I got to be Number 24 in the first place,” Bryant said.
The Lakers will retire both numbers in a ceremony on Dec. 18.
“Kobe’s jerseys are taking their rightful home next to the greatest Lakers of all time,” Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said in September. “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.”
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Bryant scored almost the exact same amount of points with No. 8 (16,777) and No. 24 (16,866) so it’s understandable why both won’t ever be worn by another Lakers player.
The future Hall of Famer changed from No. 8 to No. 24, his high school number, as a fresh start following sexual assault allegations that caused him to lose sponsorships in 2003.
With News Wire Services