Why did Kobe Bryant change his number from 8 to 24 midway through his career. Here we look at the Lakers legend’s explanation.
The jersey number’s 8 and 24 are synonymous with Kobe Bryant. They were hung to the raptors in the Staples Center a few years ago to honor the 18-time All star. According to Kobe, his jersey numbers seemed to segregate his iconic career. While the first phase of his career went in establishing himself in the league, the second half exhibited his mature self.
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) July 2, 2020
Why did Kobe start out with jersey number 8?
Kobe debuted in the year 1996 when he decided to forgo college. Kobe selected the number based on his Adidas camp number, 143. It adds up to eight, and was the number he wore in Italy when he was younger.
“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.”
Kobe wore the jersey numbers 24 and 33 during his early days in high school. But when he came to the NBA, the number 24 jersey was worn by George McCloud and the number 33 was retired by the Lakers to honor the great Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Kobe won three NBA championships during this phase in his career. The formidable Lakers with Shaq and Kobe won 3 consecutive NBA championships.
When did Kobe change his jersey number and why?
From the start of the 2006-07 season, Bryant started wearing the number 24 jersey. Kobe said the following on his number 24 jersey.
“… 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.”
Bryant was the leading man in the team and won two finals MVP, one regular season MVP and two NBA championships during this phase of his career.
Kobe, irrespective of his jersey number, always was a role model for work ethic. This was certainly proved by the Black Mamba with his last outing for his beloved Lakers when he put on a clinic and hit 60 points for the one last time.