The Lakers have confirmed they will retire both of the numbers Bryant wore as a Laker, local media reported on Tuesday. While the franchise hasn't acknowledged the rumored ceremony at this time, the gossip site insists it's "Kobe's big night", as the Lakers reportedly tipped off season ticket holders, instructing them to hold on to their December 18 tickets for a "special event". "There was never any doubt this day would come, the only question was when".
The Black Mamba, of course, played all 20 seasons of his legendary career with the Lakers, and helped them win five titles.
Kobe Bryant during his final game. "The Lakers have bestowed a huge honor on me and I'm grateful for the fans' enthusiasm around this game". Bryant having his jersey retired at halftime will probably make this the most popular night for the Lakers this season. Bryant will join an elite group of players, becoming the 10th player that will have his number raised to the rafters in the STAPLES Center.
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It is a fitting tribute, perhaps too fitting, for one of the best National Basketball Association players of his generation. The Lakers struggled late in his career while Bryant ended three consecutive seasons early with injuries, and the franchise delayed its rebuilding in favor of showcasing Bryant to his adoring worldwide fans.
Since his retirement, Bryant has become an unofficial adviser to Buss and the Lakers.
Johnson is, perhaps purposefully, vague when it comes to distinguishing which Mt. Rushmore (NBA or Lakers) would include Bryant.