LA Times- After Kobe Bryant retires, the Lakers will eventually hang his jersey up in the rafters at Staples Center.
Which of Bryant's two numbers will the Lakers honor?
"I don't know the answer. Obviously it's going to be 8, 24 or it could be both," said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak at a season ticket holder event Sunday.
Bryant played the first half of his career with No. 8, winning three championships. He wore 24 for the Lakers' most recent two titles.
I remember when this story first came out a month or two ago, and it was mentioned that the Lakers front office would have the final say in choosing which one of Kobe's numbers to retire. At the time I thought it was stupid, and criticized Kobe for putting them in that position. After all, we are talking about Kobe Bryant here. The ultimate control freak. Why would he ever turn over the reigns with such an irreversible decision at hand?
It wasn't until now, when Mitch Kupchak mentioned the possibility of retiring two numbers, that it hit me. This was Kobe's plan all along. He knew that the Lakers couldn't possibly decide which number to hang from the rafters. This way he gets to be the first player in history to have two numbers retired, and he doesn't look like an overly pretentious douchebag for suggesting it. The master of mind games strikes again! Shooting less than 40% from the field and he is still flashing the ability to get what he wants out of others. There is only one thing that is more important to Kobe Bryant than being in control, and that is being the best. We primarily judge players careers based on their stats now-a-days so, ipso facto, Kobe Bryant is obsessed with his numbers. He may never reach that vaunted 6th title that he has always longed for, but you can bet your ass he wasn't going out without besting Michael Jordan in some statistical fashion. TWO numbers hanging from the ceiling!?! Even MJ doesn't have that. It may make him as petty as he was competitive, but you just know that would mean something to him. I can already see him clenching his teeth and giving a fist pump under the table while the Lakers tell him they intend to raise 8 AND 24. The first player to be so important to a franchise that his career gets broken up into two distinct time periods that are both celebrated equally, and it wasn't even technically his idea? It just doesn't get more "Kobe" than that.