The Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant made it official Tuesday afternoon, sharing a press release announcing that both Nos. 8 and 24 are being retired by the franchise. Kobe, Magic Johnson, Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka each provided a statement on the event.
The organization also confirmed the event will be held on Dec. 18, as reported, against the Golden State Warriors. The plan is to hold a halftime ceremony to raise his jerseys into the rafters, to their “rightful home” as Buss put it.
“Once again, Lakers fans will celebrate our hero, and once again, our foes will envy the legendary Kobe Bryant," Jeanie’s statement concludes.
Kobe becomes the first player in NBA history to have two numbers retired by the same team, something that may have been an inevitability. Picking just one of his “eras” is simply too difficult a task, and there’s ultimately no reason not to give Kobe the double-jersey treatment.
"As a kid growing up in Italy, I always dreamed of my jersey hanging in the Lakers rafters, but I certainly never imagined two of them. The Lakers have bestowed a huge honor on me and I'm grateful for the fans' enthusiasm around this game," Bryant said.
The biggest and most verbose quote came from Kobe’s confidant, former agent and current Lakers general manager Pelinka, who had this to say (via Lakers.com):
"Kobe's impact on this franchise is immeasurable," said General Manager Rob Pelinka. "Kobe carried the torch for the Lakers for 20 seasons, keeping the franchise at the forefront of the NBA following the ‘Showtime' Era. Beyond the championship banners and individual accolades, Kobe's ‘Mamba Mentality' is something the Lakers will always try to emulate. It alone daily inspires all of us to strive for greatness. Kobe's loyalty and dedication to his craft make him one of the most iconic superstars in sports history. The full impact he has on this game and on future generations will not be fully recognized for a long, long time."
Mark your calendars for this one, folks. Check out the full press release on Lakers.com for more from Jeanie and Magic while supporting their digital efforts.