Kobe Bryant will earn the distinction of becoming the 10th Los Angeles Laker to have his number retired. There’s a catch, though: both of his numbers will be retired.
Bryant famously changed his jersey number from No. 8 to No. 24, and both jerseys will head to rafters in the Staples Center. He spent 10 seasons wearing the No. 8 and 10 seasons donning No. 24.
TMZ Sports was the first to report that the jersey retirement ceremony will take place on Dec. 18, 2017, before the Lakers take on the defending-champion Golden State Warriors. Bryant scored 33,643 career points, sitting behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone–both of whom also played for the Lakers during their storied careers.
Bryant will join former players Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Magic Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal, James Worthy, Jerry West, and Jamaal Wilkes as Lakers to have their numbers retired. The team also honored longtime announcer Chick Hearn by raising his name to the rafters, as well.
Bryant, who will one day be elected to the NBA Hall of Fame, joins O’Neal as the only two players to have their Laker numbers retired before officially being enshrined in the Hall. Bryant, however, is a lock for enshrinement when his eligibility begins.
The shooting guard went to 18 All-Star games over the course of his career and was distinguished as first-team All-NBA 11 times. In his five championships, Bryant won the Finals MVP Award twice.
Bryant retired following the 2015-16 season.
The former NBA star also recently helped establish the first NBA Basketball School in China. Construction is set to be completed by 2019.
“The Chinese youth will benefit from a complete approach to player development that combines NBA-quality coaching with NBA-level training,” Bryant said in a statement.