LA Lakers to retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 shirts

We pick out five of the most famous retired shirt numbers in sport

NBA legend Kobe Bryant spent 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers
NBA legend Kobe Bryant spent 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers
(Image credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers will retire both of Kobe Bryant’s shirt numbers in honour of the legendary shooting guard’s glittering career with the NBA team.

Lakers’ all-time scorer, with 33,643 points, Bryant’s 20-year career with the club ended in April 2016. He won five NBA championships and was named an All-Star 18 times.

Bryant wore two shirts for the Lakers - No. 8 and No. 24 - and both will be retired during half-time of the match against the Golden State Warriors on 18 December.

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In a report on ESPN, Bryant said: “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.

“The Lakers have bestowed a huge honour on me and I’m grateful for the fans’ enthusiasm around this game.”

After being traded to the Lakers in 1996, Bryant initially wore the No. 8, in which he won three NBA titles. He then switched to 24 - his first high-school number - for the 2006-2007 season and went on to win a further two NBA championships.

At the time, the NBA website reported, Bryant said the switch was made because “he wanted a new number for the second half of his career”.

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Bryant becomes the tenth player to have his shirt retired by the Lakers. Controlling owner Jeanie Buss said: “Kobe’s jerseys are taking their rightful home next to the greatest Lakers of all time.

“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.”

The other Lakers legends who have had their shirts retired are:

  • Wilt Chamberlain (No. 13)
  • Elgin Baylor (22)
  • Gail Goodrich (25)
  • Magic Johnson (32)
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33)
  • Shaquille O’Neal (34)
  • James Worthy (42)
  • Jerry West (44)
  • Jamaal Wilkes (52)

Johnson, who is now the team’s president of basketball operations, said: “This honour is very well deserved. 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.”

Five other famous retired shirt numbers

Hundreds of teams across a wide range of sports have retired shirt numbers. Here we pick five of the best.

Toronto Maple Leafs No. 6: Ace Bailey

Canadian ice hockey player Ace Bailey was with the Maple Leafs for eight seasons. His No. 6 was the first shirt to officially be retired by a team in professional sport, in 1934.

Miami Heat No. 23: Michael Jordan

The strange thing about this retirement is that basketball legend Jordan never even played for Miami. Nevertheless, at a ceremony ahead of a game against Jordan’s Washington Wizards in 2003, the team awarded him the honour. Miami Heat president Pat Riley told him: “No one will ever wear No. 23 for the Miami Heat. You’re the best.”

West Ham Utd No. 6: Bobby Moore

During his 16-year spell with the Hammers, Moore not only became one of the best ever central defenders, but he also lifted the World Cup as England captain, in 1966.

No. 12 or No. 6: the fans

A number of professional teams have retired the No. 12 shirt in honour of their supporters - the “twelfth man”. In basketball, Orlando Magic and the Sacramento Kings have done the same with the No. 6.

No. 92: Reggie White

In 2005, the NFL defensive end’s No. 92 shirt was retired by two teams - the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers - as well as by his alma mater, the University of Tennessee. White is the only NFL player to receive such an honour.

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