Kobe Bryant Has Not One But 2 Jerseys Retired: ‘Forever Immortalized, Truly Legendary’

Kobe Bryant’s 20 years playing for the Los Angeles Lakers were honored on Monday in a star-filled journey down NBA memory lane,

The 18-time NBA MVP had not one but two jerseys immortalized at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, as both his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys were hung from the rafters.

When asked which jersey her preferred, the Lakers legend replied: “I kind of go back and forth,” Bryant said. “[No.] 8 has something that 24 will never, ever, ever, ever have, and that’s the ability to grow hair. So it’s tough,” he said, according to USA Today.

Also Read: ‘Dear Basketball’ Makes the Shortlist — Will Kobe Bryant Get to the Oscars?

“I think 24 was more challenging, and I tend to gravitate to things that are harder to do. Physically for me, it was really, really hard to get up night in and night out. It was a grind,” Bryant added.

Bryant had changed from wearing No. 8 to 24 at the beginning of the 2006-07 NBA season so that he could resume wearing his high school number, which was previously unavailable.

In honor of the jersey retirement, which came 20 months after Bryant’s real-life retirement from professional basketball, a flood of famous names of the sports world professed their praise on Twitter.

Also Read: Ice Cube, Allen Iverson Launch 3-on-3 Basketball League With Former NBA Players

“Forever immortalized through the yelling of his name every time someone shoots a crumpled paper ball towards a garbage can. Truly Legendary,” Houston Texans’ JJ Watt wrote.

Even former Lakers coach Phil Jackson praised Bryant, tweeting: “Congratulations Kobe Bryant! Hail Momba, too. Two Jersey’s retired is one way to measure your impact for the Lakers.

Meanwhile Shaq — who was once Bryant’s greatest nemesis — also came out to join in the celebration and offer his congratulations.

Also Read: Kobe v Shaq: a Timeline (Photos)

See the tweets below:

Forever immortalized through the yelling of his name every time someone shoots a crumpled paper ball towards a garbage can.
Truly Legendary. #Kobe

– JJ Watt (@JJWatt) December 18, 2017

Congrats @kobebryant ???? much deserved ????????8️⃣????????2️⃣4️⃣????
See you tonight my brother!… https://t.co/lsKFzg8p8A

— SHAQ (@SHAQ) December 18, 2017

You deserve this one and all the recognitions in the world. Thank you for bringing so much to the sport of basketball #brother!

Te mereces este y todos los reconocimientos del mundo. Gracias por todo lo que has aportado a este deporte #hermano! #Ko8e24 pic.twitter.com/bM3ySD83jX

— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) December 18, 2017

Congratulations Kobe Bryant! Hail Momba, too. Two Jersey’s retired is one way to measure your impact for the Lakers. The GOAT measure is:????????????????????

— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) December 18, 2017

Greatness recognizes greatness: On hand to honor Kobe tonight at Staples are Shaq, Kareem and Bill Russell. That’s 21 rings. Kobe, closest to MJ ever. Fearless fire. Mamba mentality. Congrats, 8/24.

— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) December 19, 2017

#Ko8be24 2 jerseys retired is Legendary!!!

— Breanna Stewart (@bre_stewart30) December 19, 2017

I never got to go up against Kobe wearing #24 but it was a joy watching him thrive in an offense I knew so well. ????#Ko8be24 pic.twitter.com/19JABzOgjl

— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) December 19, 2017

Congrats!!! #Str8SerialKilla @kobebryant pic.twitter.com/m2LhIAGp9W

— Allen Iverson (@alleniverson) December 18, 2017

Forever my favorite player ???? #Ko8be24 pic.twitter.com/75iZKmU8VP

— Shade’ Dixon (@ShadeEsq) December 18, 2017

Kobe Bryant retiring two numbers tonight? That’s not done everyday. This legend is the one who got me into basketball when I was young and it’s carried as a passion ever since. Thank you for 20 season of galvanizing moments. From 8 to 24, to 81 and 60 in the last game. #Ko8be24 pic.twitter.com/qexLdbaVCm

— Dylan Young (@zestydylan) December 18, 2017

Kobe and Bill Russell. What a moment. pic.twitter.com/ZUJt5iQuSJ

— ESPN (@espn) December 19, 2017

Kobe Bryant will be the 1st player to have No. 8 retired by an NBA team, and he’ll be the 8th player to have No. 24 retired by an NBA team. pic.twitter.com/jZWt7wsjrv

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 18, 2017

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Kobe Bryant’s 20 years playing for the Los Angeles Lakers were honored on Monday in a star-filled journey down NBA memory lane,

The 18-time NBA MVP had not one but two jerseys immortalized at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, as both his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys were hung from the rafters.

When asked which jersey her preferred, the Lakers legend replied: “I kind of go back and forth,” Bryant said. “[No.] 8 has something that 24 will never, ever, ever, ever have, and that’s the ability to grow hair. So it’s tough,” he said, according to USA Today.

“I think 24 was more challenging, and I tend to gravitate to things that are harder to do. Physically for me, it was really, really hard to get up night in and night out. It was a grind,” Bryant added.

Bryant had changed from wearing No. 8 to 24 at the beginning of the 2006-07 NBA season so that he could resume wearing his high school number, which was previously unavailable.

In honor of the jersey retirement, which came 20 months after Bryant’s real-life retirement from professional basketball, a flood of famous names of the sports world professed their praise on Twitter.

“Forever immortalized through the yelling of his name every time someone shoots a crumpled paper ball towards a garbage can. Truly Legendary,” Houston Texans’ JJ Watt wrote.

Even former Lakers coach Phil Jackson praised Bryant, tweeting: “Congratulations Kobe Bryant! Hail Momba, too. Two Jersey’s retired is one way to measure your impact for the Lakers.

Meanwhile Shaq — who was once Bryant’s greatest nemesis — also came out to join in the celebration and offer his congratulations.

See the tweets below:

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Dear Basketball' Makes the Shortlist — Will Kobe Bryant Get to the Oscars?

Kobe Bryant and Vin Scully Sendoffs Win LA Area Emmy Awards

Tribeca: Kobe Bryant on His New Career as Storyteller, Moviemaker

ESPN’s Dan Le Batard on Magic Johnson Criticism: ‘Social Justice Warriors Are Eating Their Own’

This week’s announcement that Magic Johnson has been named team president for the Los Angeles Lakers sparked celebration from many long-suffering fans, but caused a division among some of ESPN’s top talent.

“Highly Questionable” host Dan Le Batard kicked off a firestorm when he criticized the five-time NBA champion’s ability to run the team, saying he only got the top job because “he’s famous and charming.”

Le Batard’s comments triggered an instant reaction, most notably from fellow ESPN host, Mike Wilbon, who blasted him on Twitter asking: “Did the electricity go out in LeBatard’s studio the last two decades to the point he can’t even acknowledge the vast successes?”

Also Read: LA Lakers Name Magic Johnson President of Basketball Operations

Never one to hold back his opinion, Le Batard attributed the angry responses to a America’s bigger race issue on ESPN Radio’s “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” on Friday, the New York Post reported.

“Now, I am in the middle of a storm where there are a lot of people laughing that I am in the middle of a racism controversy,” he said. “The social justice warriors are eating their own. I found it interesting what it became. It’s instructive to what happens in America now.”

Also Read: ESPN ‘SC6’s’ Jemele Hill, Michael Smith on NBA All-Star, Bringing a Fresh Attitude to ‘SportsCenter’

While he was born in New Jersey, Le Batard’s parents are exiled Cubans, and his father Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard (above left) has regularly appeared on his shows.

“Once that fuse got lit, it became an explosion all over ESPN,” he continued. “I found it fascinating to watch, as all the black voices on ESPN lined up, but only the black voices, as far as I can tell.”

Also Read: Magic Johnson Somehow Loses to Luke Wilson in ‘Tonight Show’ Beer Pong (Video)

One of those “black voices” was former NFL player and current ESPN analyst who said: “I can’t tolerate this dude! I can’t tolerate him saying these things about Magic Johnson because his facts are completely wrong … I’m going to read between the lines, I’m going to read between the lines on this one,” he said. “To me, he’s saying ‘because he’s a black dude,’ that’s the way I look at it.”

Le Batard also pointed out that critics should listen to the “whole show” as he “gave other reasons for it and it was a balanced discussion, but that’s the clip that played on ESPN all day.”

Also Read: ESPN’s ‘Mike & Mike’ Share Weirdest Super Bowl Moments: Think Real-Life ‘Puppy Monkey Baby’

One reason Le Batard had initially given for his opinion of Magic’s qualifications to run Kobe Byrant’s former team was his Twitter comments over the years. “His Twitter account should disqualify him from the job,” he said. “We should have just done that. Can we do that? In fact, his Twitter account should host a late-night show. It would last longer than the 11 days his show did — ‘The Magic Hour.’”

Johnson is renown for praising NBA players via social media that have then gone on to be busts, or for the hiring of Phil Jackson as president of the New York Knicks, which isn’t working out too well either.

Of course, that ignited plenty of fiery responses — on Twitter.

See Wilbon’s tweets below.

A spokesperson for ESPN declined to comment on the matter.

So LeBatard bases Magic’s worthiness on a failed talk show and failed coaching career but not the 25 years since of success in business?

— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) February 23, 2017

A failed talk show indicates more about Magic as a boss of basketball than building and running numerous successful businesses?

— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) February 23, 2017

Did the electricity go out in LeBatard’s studio the last two decades to the point he can’t even acknowledge the vast successes?

— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) February 23, 2017

A failed talk show indicates more about Magic as a boss of basketball than building and running numerous successful businesses?

— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) February 23, 2017

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This week’s announcement that Magic Johnson has been named team president for the Los Angeles Lakers sparked celebration from many long-suffering fans, but caused a division among some of ESPN’s top talent.

“Highly Questionable” host Dan Le Batard kicked off a firestorm when he criticized the five-time NBA champion’s ability to run the team, saying he only got the top job because “he’s famous and charming.”

Le Batard’s comments triggered an instant reaction, most notably from fellow ESPN host, Mike Wilbon, who blasted him on Twitter asking: “Did the electricity go out in LeBatard’s studio the last two decades to the point he can’t even acknowledge the vast successes?”

Never one to hold back his opinion, Le Batard attributed the angry responses to a America’s bigger race issue on ESPN Radio’s “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” on Friday, the New York Post reported.

“Now, I am in the middle of a storm where there are a lot of people laughing that I am in the middle of a racism controversy,” he said. “The social justice warriors are eating their own. I found it interesting what it became. It’s instructive to what happens in America now.”

While he was born in New Jersey, Le Batard’s parents are exiled Cubans, and his father Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard (above left) has regularly appeared on his shows.

“Once that fuse got lit, it became an explosion all over ESPN,” he continued. “I found it fascinating to watch, as all the black voices on ESPN lined up, but only the black voices, as far as I can tell.”

One of those “black voices” was former NFL player and current ESPN analyst who said: “I can’t tolerate this dude! I can’t tolerate him saying these things about Magic Johnson because his facts are completely wrong … I’m going to read between the lines, I’m going to read between the lines on this one,” he said. “To me, he’s saying ‘because he’s a black dude,’ that’s the way I look at it.”

Le Batard also pointed out that critics should listen to the “whole show” as he “gave other reasons for it and it was a balanced discussion, but that’s the clip that played on ESPN all day.”

One reason Le Batard had initially given for his opinion of Magic’s qualifications to run Kobe Byrant’s former team was his Twitter comments over the years. “His Twitter account should disqualify him from the job,” he said. “We should have just done that. Can we do that? In fact, his Twitter account should host a late-night show. It would last longer than the 11 days his show did — ‘The Magic Hour.'”

Johnson is renown for praising NBA players via social media that have then gone on to be busts, or for the hiring of Phil Jackson as president of the New York Knicks, which isn’t working out too well either.

Of course, that ignited plenty of fiery responses — on Twitter.

See Wilbon’s tweets below.

A spokesperson for ESPN declined to comment on the matter.

Related stories from TheWrap:

ESPN 'SC6's' Jemele Hill, Michael Smith on NBA All-Star, Bringing a Fresh Attitude to 'SportsCenter'

ESPN's 'Mike & Mike' Share Weirdest Super Bowl Moments: Think Real-Life 'Puppy Monkey Baby'

Inside ESPN's Super Bowl Coverage: From Rex Ryan and Odell Beckham Jr, to the Patriots and Politics