On Monday December 18, 2017, Kobe Bryant became the first NBA player to have two jerseys retired by one team. When he was drafted in 1996 by the Charlotte Hornets and immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Philadelphia native choose the number “8” because it was the sum of 1, 4, and 3 which were the numbers he wore at the Adidas/Reebok ABCD basketball camp. It was in 2006 that Bryant decided to request that the Lakers submit the paperwork to change to the number “24. Let’s take a look and see was he better with the number “8” or the number “24.”
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Unlike the legends before him, Bryant earned the unique honor of having two different numbers retired by the franchise which he spent his entire professional career. The number “8” depicts the younger version of himself who broke into the league and played with brash confidence, while the number “24” represents his unforgettable career from 2006-2007 until the end. The stats for both numbers are actually quite similar. When Kobe wore the number “8” his stats were 23.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists a game and while adorning the number “24” the stats were 26.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists a game.
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When you look at the legacy of each time in Kobe’s career, under the number “8” he was a three-time champion, eight-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA First Team, and four-time All-Defensive First Team. The Kobe that wore number “24” was a two-time champion, MVP, two-time Finals MVP, ten-time All-Star, seven-time All-NBA First Team, and five-time All-Defensive First Team.
In his number “8” jersey, Bryant put up the second most points in a game when he drop 81 points on the Toronto Raptors.
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Was Kobe Bryant better when he wore the number “8” or number “24?”
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