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Lakers: #8 or #24? Which number would join the other Lakers greats?

December 17, 2010

It is a question that the Lakers organization would not have to worry about for a few more years but it is an interesting topic, a debatable one too. It will be a tough decision for the Lakers organization to make. In my opinion, I think whether he won the 3 championships as a “sidekick” or 2 championships as the “main guy” shouldn’t be the main argument when deciding which number to retire. The fact is Shaquille would have never won without Bryant or the others players and Kobe would never have won without Pau or any other players on the Lakers squad. Nobody wins championships by themselves.

When he wore number 8, he had to have the maturity as a player by accepting his role on the team being the supporting cast. He did his job well, providing the fire-power the Lakers were looking for then when Shaq was in foul trouble or having a off-night. He broke NBA records, he did great and jaw-dropping performances, he won championships, he won Slam Dunk competition, he won an All-Star MVP, he won a scoring title, he was a 8 time All-Star and he was already considered as a future Hall-Of-Famer. With that resume, it is enough to retire any player’s number within any organization and to be considered for Hall-of-Fame.
Then he started off a new season wearing number 24 and went on to do even more amazing things, adding on to his already mind-blowing resume: winning another scoring title, winning the regular season MVP, winning 2 more championships, 2 Finals MVPs, winning 2 more All-Star MVPs, 4 times All-Star, and breaking more records. Using that as a serperate career, those achievements are enough to hang another’s number up high and putting their name down in the Hall-of-Fame. With number 24, he has to accept his new role on this new Lakers squad where he has to be the leader guiding his team to win. His maturity as a player grew because his job is not just to score but to get his team-mates involved and motivate them to win. He has to raise their level of play to match his rather than making every play in the game by himself.
He went from a guy who just needed to come in and score to help the team win to a leader who has to lead his team to win. Yes, he was not as mature a player then as he is now but nobody is perfect. The mentality of the #8 Kobe is different from that of the #24 Kobe. In my opinion, I think both numbers deserve retirement because Kobe Bryant is in a special situation. He has played with the Lakers his whole career and his accomplisments when wearing both numbers are incredible seperately and when you put them together. There is also always a first in everything so what better reasons are there to retire two numbers for one player than Kobe Bryant’s career? Ultimately if one single number had to be picked, number 24 would be the better of the two numbers only because 8 is the number Kobe Bryant had chosen to leave behind while wearing the number 24 now.

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