The Los Angeles Lakers recently announced that it will hang Bryant's jersey in the rafters, and before fans started debating on whether the No. 8 or 24 should be immortalized, the team seemed to have acknowledged the concern with "Why not both?"
"The Lakers have bestowed a huge honor on me and I'm grateful for the fans' enthusiasm around this game," he said in an official release.
No other basketball superstar has given equal significance to two figures, not even Michael Jordan or LeBron James, who also wore the 45 and 6, respectively, but will both be mainly identified with 23. Meanwhile, Kobe's numbers represent the outstanding halves of his storied career with the franchise that he spent 20 seasons with.
Here are just some of the legendary performances from the five-time champion, one-time Most Valuable Player, and 18-time All-Star.
No. 8 Kobe—aka the first 10 years—was defined by his sheer athleticism and explosiveness, which translated to numerous scoring outbursts. It wasn't also uncommon for the Black Mamba to put grown-ass men on a poster.
25 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 blocks vs Portland Trail Blazers
62 points vs Dallas Mavericks
81 points vs Toronto Raptors
In his last decade, No. 24 Bryant's shooting and clutch gene were on display, en route to his only MVP award (2008). Vino showcased other facets of his game, while being one of the league's more dangerous one-on-one players.
33 points vs Miami Heat (including the game-winner)
19 points and 17 assists vs Cleveland Cavaliers
60 points vs Utah Jazz
Kobe's jersey numbers will be retired in a halftime ceremony when the Lakers host the Golden State Warriors on December 28 at the STAPLES Center