Kobe Bryant Leaves Warriors Vs. Lakers Jersey-Retirement Game Early

Posted December 25, 2017

In an National Basketball Association first, the Lakers on Monday night retired both jersey numbers worn by Bryant, the leading scorer in franchise history.

Bryant played 67 career games against Golden State, the second-most of any opponent. That probably had a lot to do with him needing to get his kids home at a reasonable time, but Twitter couldn't get enough of the fact that Kobe left and the Lakers lost by two.

"What we're celebrating tonight is the journey that you took us on for those 20 years", Buss said.

First to speak was Lakers president of basketball operations and fellow Laker legend Magic Johnson, who called Bryant "the greatest who's ever worn the purple and gold". That's why the franchise still finds itself stuck trying to move on from Bryant more than four years since he last was an effective National Basketball Association star, when he hobbled off the court after tearing his Achilles on April 12, 2013. He scored 81 points against the Raptors wearing No. 8, but he passed Michael Jordan for third on the NBA's all-time scoring list and scored 60 points in his final game while wearing No. 24. He tore his plantar fasciitis and just kept playing. "To go through two different championship runs, I think the Lakers are such a huge part of this city that people feel connected to him. I think legacy is really important".

This all led to the moment of Bryant's jerseys were then unveiled slowly next to legendary play-by-play announcer Chick Hearns' jersey up in the rafters.

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One parent thanked Trump. "My son Nicolas Guzman is a NECA student and you talked to him today and he's so excited about it". The parents claim that they would have wanted to keep their children home from school to protest against Donald Trump .

"We're retiring both of your numbers because if we separated the accomplishments under each of the numbers, each of those players would qualify for the Hall of Fame", Buss said.

Shaq, Magic, Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Derek Fisher, Jerry West, James Worthy, Elgin Baylor, Allen Iverson and, of course, Jack Nicholson were all in the building, while ticket prices resembled an NBA Finals market more than a December NBA game. "But it's not about my jerseys that are hanging up there for me", Bryant said to the crowd.

That's certainly what they're are hoping for, that the combination of Ingram and Ball can be the faces of the next great Lakers' team. "Without them, I couldn't be there today".

"The man sacrificed everything to be as good as he was, to have the career he had", Walton said.

Prior to the game, Kobe held a press conference and was asking a varying range of questions, from his thoughts on the current Lakers roster, to what number he prefers better - 8 or 24 - but the real highlight of the conference came when Bryant was asked how the first weeks of retirement were. O'Neal, who teamed with Bryant to win three consecutive titles from 2000 to 2002 before being traded to the Heat, hailed Bryant's supreme self-confidence and said that their love-hate pairing "was fun while it lasted". Maybe Bryant knew something after four quarters the other Lakers fans in the building didn't. 8 has something that 24 will never, ever, ever have: "the ability to grow hair".