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Monday, December 18, 2017

A Memorable Night for the Lakers: The Mamba Is Immortalized...

Kobe Bryant's two jersey numbers are retired during a halftime ceremony at a Lakers game in STAPLES Center...on December 18, 2017.
Los Angeles Lakers

Much props to Kobe Bryant for taking his place among his fellow Laker greats at STAPLES Center tonight. During the halftime ceremony of the Lakers-Golden State Warriors game in Los Angeles today (the Warriors won in overtime, 116-114), Kobe, his family, his former teammates (such as Shaquille O'Neal, Rick Fox, Derek Fisher and Gary Payton) and some former rivals (Allen Iverson, who took on Kobe and Co. when L.A. played against the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2001 NBA Finals, was at the game) were on-hand to watch as two black panels near the ceiling rafters descended to reveal the two jersey numbers, #8 and #24, that Bryant wore from 1996 to last year. It was a bittersweet moment...and as Lakers president Jeanie Buss pointed out, was all the more sweeter considering that Kobe won five titles and earned his spot as a Los Angeles sports legend by staying with the Lake Show for all 20 years of his career. That must have slightly stung for the Warriors' Kevin Durant (whose team watched the ceremony from the sideline)—who got flack for leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder to win a championship with Golden State last season.

Lakers president Jeanie Buss gives a speech during Kobe Bryant's jersey retirement ceremony at STAPLES Center...on December 18, 2017.
Los Angeles Lakers

Can't wait till a bronze statue of the Black Mamba is eventually put up outside of STAPLES Center. Much like Shaq's statue, I'll drive to L.A. to take a photo of the metallic ode to KB8 / KB24's greatness once it's on display. Though the big question is: Which jersey number will be represented on Kobe's statue? Happy Monday!

From right to left: Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Kobe's former agent (and now Lakers general manager) Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss watch as Bryant's two jersey numbers are retired during a halftime ceremony at STAPLES Center...on December 18, 2017.
Los Angeles Lakers

Former NBA player Allen Iverson (whose Philadelphia 76ers took on the Lakers during the 2001 NBA Finals) was on-hand to watch Kobe Bryant's two jersey numbers get retired at STAPLES Center...on December 18, 2017.
NBA

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