Kobe Bryant Forever: A Tribute to the NBA Legend
The LA Lakers will retire both his #8 and #24 jerseys later this year
Last Tuesday, the Lakers announced that not one but two of Kobe Bryant’s jerseys will be retired in a ceremony on December 18. This takes place during the half time when the Lakers face off with the Golden State Warriors.
“I always dreamed of my jersey hanging in the Lakers rafters, but I certainly never imagined two of them,” says Bryant. This makes him the 10th player to receive such an honor, following the footsteps of NBA greats Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal, James Worthy, Jerry West and Jamaal Wilkes.
10 years sporting the number eight jersey, another 10 sporting number 24, 20 seasons in total, 33,643 points, one NBA legend:
Del Harris on coaching Kobe Bryant from 1996 to 1999:
via Business Insider
"He was bright and precocious, both in an athletic sense and intellectually and mentally. But he was basically a teenager in a teenager's body," Del Harris told the LA Times. "As the season went along, he just kept getting better and better. By the end of the year, he was central to the rotation. He was a key player. Even the next year, when he was our solid sixth man, he could have been sixth man of the year...Of course he made the All-Star team that year by vote.”
Kobe wins the Slam Dunk Contest during his rookie year:
Phil Jackson on working with Kobe from 1999 to 2004 and again between 2005 and 2011:
"He passed Michael [Jordan], which is unbelievable in itself. He's the highest-scoring guard that ever played the game. The greatest-scoring guard. That's his legacy,” Jackson told the LA Times. "His streaks were so impressive that it was remarkable he could get and stay hot. He could get going and be an incredible force in the ballgame and have these moments of brilliance where he could just go off and have a 40-point ballgame."
Kobe’s Best Plays Versus Every Team in the NBA:
Rudy Tomjanovich on coaching Bryant between 2004 and 2005:
"He was great. All the things that you've heard—working hard, practicing hard, setting the standard. He liked to talk basketball, called me in the off-season, asking about what kind of sets [I'd run] and things like that. Really a pleasure to be around the guy."
Kobe scores 81 points in the game versus Toronto in January 2006:
Magic Johnson and NBA Greats Pay Tribute to the Black Mamba:
Coach Mike Brown on Kobe:
via USA Today
"At times, obviously, he would think that to win means to do this or do that and I may think to win means to do this or do that and sometimes they may not align. Coaches and players are not always aligned. But at the end of the day, you knew that he was trying to win every single time that he stepped on the floor. That's one of the things that I appreciated the most with him. The other thing is you knew always with Kobe where you stood, where you were. I don't know if he believes in hiding his emotions. A lot of coaches say they want that and then when they get it, it could be tough for them to handle. But I know that I enjoyed it because there was never a time where I had to guess what Kobe was thinking or what he wanted or anything like that. No guessing game whatsoever."
Kobe Bryant scores 60 points in his final game:
A quote from Byron Scott, Kobe Bryant’s coach from 2014 to 2016:
"Kobe was one of those guys that you tried to mix it up with as much as possible. At the end of the day, you would look back and say, 'You know what? We did a hell of a job on him,' and he'd still have 30. So there really was no stopping him."