Why Kobe Bryant changed his Lakers jersey number from No.8 to No. 24

Table of Contents

LA Lakers have retired both Kobe Bryant’s jersey numbers after his retirement. Here is the reason why Kobe Bryant change his jersey number from no 8 to no 24.

Kobe Bryant is a legend of the game. Right from his first game as a rookie to his retirement game (record 60 points, who would forget that), he gave his all. His 20 seasons in the league left an unforgettable legacy in fans’ hearts.

Bryant retired on 13th April 2016 and the Lakers wasted no time to honour his accomplishments with the franchise by retiring his jerseys. LA Lakers had the ceremony on 18th Dec 2017, when they officially hung Kobe’s Jersey number in the rafters of Staples Center (now name changes to Crypto.com arena)

It was decided that both the numbers, Kobe wore during his time with the Lakers will be retired, which was the 1st time in NBA history. Kobe Bryant changed his original Jersey number – no.8 to no.24 midway in his career.

Kobe Bryant idea behind his Lakers jersey No.8

The change in jersey number might be understood if Kobe had switched a team, but that was not the case. Kobe shed light on that in the “Jersey retirement ceremony”. 

He said, “When I first came in at 8, is really trying to ‘plant your flag’ sort of thing. I got to prove that I belong here in this league. I’ve got to prove that I’m one of the best in this league. You’re going after them. It’s nonstop energy and aggressiveness and stuff.”

The reason for Bryant getting the No 8 jersey is also an interesting one. His 1st jersey number came from Adidas ABCD Camp, #143. The digits add up to 8. Also, it is the number he wore in Italy during his playing time there.

Also, the number 24 (which he selected on his own later on) was assigned to George McCloud. His second choice would have been No 33, which he was using in his high school days was already retired by the Lakers to honour Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. So Bryant had put up jersey No. 8 at the beginning of his career.

Kobe Bryant changing his Lakers jersey number to No.24

From the 2006-07 season Bryant decided to change his jersey number to No.24. It was the number he wore in his early basketball playing days.

About the jersey number 24, Kobe said “Then 24 is a growth from that. Physical attributes aren’t there the way they used to be, but the maturity level is greater. Marriage, kids. Start having a broader perspective being one of the older guys on the team now, as opposed to being the youngest. Things evolve.

It certainly was the Mamba way to go back to the roots again and start fresh. In his Oscar-winning short film “Dear Basketball,” Bryant reflected on how he would always be that kid who fell in love with a game.

He mentioned that No. 24 was part of his basketball origin story. It all started with that number, that got him to the skills and success level he had with the LA Lakers. Kobe sticking to his basics in not new to any Mamba fan, as he always had mentioned in various interviews about how he prefers strong basics over anything else.

Comparison between both jersey numbers

Kobe Bryant’s achievements are more about his efforts, consistency, and skill set, that does not need a specific jersey number to connect to. But since he changed his jersey number, we can have 2 different eras between Kobe’s 20-year career.

AchievementJersey Number 8Jersey number 24
Seasons1010
NBA Titles32
Regular Season MVP01
Finals MVP02
All Star Games810
All Star MVP Award13
Total points Scored1686616717
Scoring titles02

Both numbers have been equally impactful for Kobe and that’s why the Lakers have both jerseys retired.  

More NBA Articles:

NBA All-Star voting first fan vote returns might give Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant captaincy

Joel Embiid’s performances make a strong case for the KIA MVP candidate

NBA praises LeBron James for reaching 36,000 points.

Follow our dedicated NBA page for more NBA articles and news updates