Former Laker Narrates How He Benefited From Kobe Bryant Delaying His Change to #24

Published 10/27/2021, 1:30 PM EDT
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA JANUARY 29, 2013-Lakers Kobe Bryant bites his jersey while Pau Gasol shoots a free throw at the Staples Center Tuesday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


We often tend to associate players with their iconic jersey numbers. Over the years, one of the most legendary player-number pairings has been that of Kobe Bryant with his #24. Mamba shone for the Los Angeles Lakers with this number, breaking all sorts of records along the way. In addition, he was also a master of his art while donning the #8, before switching to double digits. In fact, he became the first player in NBA history to retire two different numbers from the same team.

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Laker Kobe Bryant vs. Portland TrailBlazers at the Staples Center, Tuesday in L.A. – 02/21/06 (Photo by Richard Hartog/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

As reported by ESPN, Kobe’s original choice of number came from Adidas ABCD camp, where he was 143. Adding up to 8, the number stuck with him for years. In the 2006-07 season, the 18-time All-star switched to #24. This was another number that was close to his heart, as he wore the number in his high school. Recently, Kobe’s former teammate Jim Jackson spoke about how the late legend switched numbers.

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Jim Jackson on the hilarious events before Kobe Bryant switched to #24

When Shaquille O’Neal was traded out of LA in 2004, Kobe’s change of number became quite clear. Although in reality it means nothing, certain numbers mean more to players, and inspire them to keep going. Bryant had similar statistics with both numbers, scoring over 16,000 points while donning each of them. But he will always be remembered for retiring in the #24, and retiring the #24 itself. And ex-teammate Jim Jackson had a lot to say about the swap.

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Speaking on the Dan Patrick Show, Jackson hilariously took credit for the #24 jersey. The former player benefited from Bryant delaying his number switch by a year. He narrated the story of the change of numbers on the show. “You know what’s funny though,” laid out the former guard to host Dan, “coming into the year he [Kobe] wanted to change from #8 to #24. But he had waited too late. Because you know they’d already began to market the #8. So that’s why the following year, he had ended up going for #24 and I was able to get it while I was there.”

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The great Kobe Bryant will always be remembered for his countless contributions on and off the court. The #8 and #24 jerseys are retired, but fully active in our hearts. On this day and everyday, we thank Kobe for being a part of our lives. Mamba forever!

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Sankalp Harikrishnan

458 articles

Sankalp Harikrishnan is an NBA and Tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He aspires to pursue Sports Journalism and has represented his institution in cricket, badminton, football and table tennis. Sankalp idolises Roger Federer and Stephen Curry, and has an inherent love for statistics.

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