Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers will reportedly retire Kobe Bryant’s jersey on Dec. 18

The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly set to retire the jersey of Kobe Bryant.

It’s impossible not to think of the Los Angeles Lakers and not think of Kobe Bryant and a new report suggests that the team is ready to immortalize the five-time NBA champion by hanging his jersey in the rafters of the Staples Center.

Citing multiple sources, TMZ Sports reported early Tuesday morning that the Lakers are set to retire the jersey of Kobe Bryant in a pregame ceremony on Dec. 18 before hosting the Golden State Warriors. The report went on to say that while the team has not yet confirmed the report, a letter sent to Lakers season ticket holders told them to “hold on to your tickets for the game on Dec. 18” because a “special event” would be taking place. It really can’t be anything else at this point, can it?

Over two decades, Kobe Bryant solidified himself not just as one of the greatest Los Angeles Lakers in history but as one of the best players to ever play the game. The now-39-year-old Bryant, who retired at the end of the 2015-16 season after putting up 60 points in his final game in a dramatic win over the Utah Jazz, won five championships with the Lakers and took home NBA Finals Most Valuable Player honors on two of those occasions.

Bryant sits third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 33,643 total points, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone, and averaged 25.0 points per game over 20 years while adding 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.4 steals per contest. He was just as good in the playoffs, averaging 25.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.4 steals. How’s that for consistency? Kobe’s 220 playoff games is good for sixth on the all-time list.

In addition to his five championships and two NBA Finals MVP awards, Bryant won the NBA MVP in 2008 and won the All-Star Game MVP on four occasions while being selected to the game 18 times. He was named to the All-NBA First Team 11 times, named to the All-Defensive First Team nine times and was a two-time scoring champion.

Kobe Bryant will be the 10th Lakers players to have his jersey retired, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, James Worthy, Jerry West and Jamaal Wilkes. The question now is which jersey gets retired. No. 8 or No. 24? But that’s a debate for another day.

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