Kobe Bryant Explains the Difference in Wearing No. 8 and No. 24 with Lakers

SCOTT POLACEK
NOVEMBER 6, 2017

Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant accumulated a Hall of Fame resume while wearing No. 8 and No. 24 during his playing career, but he said he was like “two different people” in the separate numbers.

His comments came in a Monday interview alongside rapper Kendrick Lamar with Complex News.

Bryant suggested the No. 8 version of himself was “literally headhunting everyone” as he was finding his place in the league, while the No. 24 version “hit a certain maturity level” and asked, “How can I lead a group of guys to get to certain levels as a group?”

Bryant started his career in the No. 8 jersey but switched before the 2006-07 season. He played 10 seasons in each number, accumulating three championships in No. 8 and two championships in No. 24.

The version who was “headhunting” has the championship advantage—and also got to play alongside Shaquille O’Neal—but the No. 24 version won the 2007-08 MVP award, the only one Bryant won in his career.

If Bryant sees the two numbers as “different people,” it is only fitting the Lakers announced they will retire both during halftime of their Dec. 18 game against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.

“This honor is very well deserved,” Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson said in the announcement. “Kobe was one of the greatest Lakers and NBA players of all time, and he’s definitely on my Mount Rushmore. I look forward to seeing BOTH of his jerseys be retired and celebrating this special day with Kobe and his family.”

The former shooting guard will become the 10th Lakers player to have his jersey retired.

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