Following a stunning career spanning five NBA championships and 18 All-Star appearances, Kobe Bryant's jerseys were raised to the rafters at the Staples Center. Otherwise known as the "House that Kobe built", not one, but two jerseys bearing the name of Kobe Bryant were raised at the home of the Lakers. With his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys up at the Staples Center, Lakers and NBA fans voiced one single question after the event - Why did Kobe switch jersey numbers?
"May you always remember to enjoy the road, especially when it's a hard one." - Kobe Bryant pic.twitter.com/ww9bUFIWU3— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 24, 2020
Kobe Bryant came into the NBA with the No. 8 jersey on his back. He took the NBA by storm and bagged three consecutive NBA championships. Lakers fans knew that they would see the iconic No. 8 jersey on the rafters at the Staples Center. However, following Shaquille O'Neal's exit, the 'Why did Kobe change his number from 8 to 24?' question arose. 'Why did Kobe switch jersey numbers?', Lakers fans kept asking as the Lakers' new No. 24 continued his exploits to snap up two more NBA championships.
In an interview with ESPN, the Lakers legend answered the fans' pressing 'Why did Kobe switch jersey numbers?' question. "When I first came in at 8, it 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 non-stop energy and aggressiveness and stuff." Following George McCloud's retirement, the No. 24 spot opened up on the Lakers' roster. Kobe Bryant duly obliged, considering that 24 was his first high school number at Lower Merion in Ardmore.
The 'Why did Kobe switch jersey numbers' story, therefore, was put to bed once and for all. 'Why did Kobe change his number from 8 to 24', therefore, was in part due to him opening a new chapter with the Lakers and in his personal life. It was also partly down to his numbers in college. In other news, the Kobe Bryant memorial was held earlier this week. A number of NBA stars both present and retired attended the Kobe Bryant memorial to pay their respect to the late Lakers legend and his daughter, Gianna Bryant.