Kobe Bryant Statue: Jersey Number on the Upcoming Lakers’ Sculpture Was Once Disclosed by Black Mamba Himself

Published 02/08/2024, 2:30 AM EST

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Most would agree that the Kobe Bryant who wore #8, is different from the one who wore #24. The day of February 8, 2024 (2/8/24) was chosen specifically for unveiling the 5x champion’s statue to pay homage to the different eras of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. But there’s still a looming question about what number will feature on the statue. Some say both will feature, while others argue one is more prominent than the other. The Black Mamba, though, put a hilarious spin on it years ago.

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This question was posed to Bean himself in 2006. He responded with his signature humor, which has resurfaced on the eve of his statue reveal. “8 has something that 24 will never ever, ever, ever have … and that’s the ability to grow hair.

 

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That is on the nose. Along with a #8 on his jersey, Bryant sported a neat afro, fondly bearing its own character called “Frobe.” But that answer confirmed even Bryant was hard-pressed to pick between both, as he’d say, “I’d understand your plight,” to the media. But they finally got a vague answer from him. “24 was more challenging. I tend to gravitate to things that are harder to do.”

Bryant wore 8 for the first 10 years of his career, and 24 till he retired. Both eras were hall-of-fame worthy in their own right. Only fitting the Lakers retired both numbers. It was imminent though that he’d be immortalized in bronze at the Crypto.com Arena, somewhere alongside his teammate Shaquille O’Neal’s statue. The only debate remained was the number and even he couldn’t pick.

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He must’ve missed Frobe that he added, “If you do hair, it’s a dead giveaway.” Note: until the statue is revealed, we won’t know if it will feature Frobe.

Kobe Bryant leans into one number

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After Shaq went to the Miami Heat, Bryant became more dominant in the team. He decided to switch from #8 to #24, for a fresh start. #24 would go on to win the fifth championship ring through injuries and tougher opponents. “If you force me to pick one, I’d probably go with 24 because of that.”

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This would slightly disappoint most who want both numbers to feature on the statue. For many, 8 and 24 can’t be set apart. Many NBA players today wear both numbers to imbibe the Mamba Mentality.

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Shaq had a minor role in Bryant switching numbers. At his 2017 statue reveal, Shaq predicted they’d be back to unveil Bryant’s statue soon. Now that it’s happening, we can’t wait to see what number/s feature on it. Though the man in question himself said, “If you do a statue, you don’t necessarily need to see the number anyway.”

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Written by:

Caroline John

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I was 7 when I saw 'Space Jam' but didn't know till the third rewatch the lead actor is actually a living basketball legend. It was while studying journalism that my friend would go on about the Warriors from Golden State. Keen on athletes' personas outside their arenas, it was Stephen Curry's confidence and philanthropy that drew me to follow the news on NBA pros and explore sports media.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth

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