Why Did Kobe Change His Number from 8 to 24


Kobe Bryant was a NBA playerr who played for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) for 20 seasons. During his career, Bryant was known for his exceptional scoring ability, competitive drive, and dedication to the game.

He was a five-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, and 18-time All-Star. Bryant was also a member of the United States Olympic basketball team, winning gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. And widely regarded as one of the best basketball players to ever play the game. 

What number was Kobe Bryant?

One of the most memorable aspects of Kobe Bryant´s career was his jersey number. Bryant wore the number 8 for the first ten years of his career, before switching to the number 24 for the remainder of his time with the Lakers. Both of Kobe´s Numbers, 8 and 24, are both retired by the Lakers. 

So, why did Kobe Bryant change his number from 8 to 24?

Bryant wore the number 8 jersey for the first decade of his career (after high school), from 1996 to 2006. During this time, young Kobe was known for his athletic abilities and his ways to put up a lot of points. This Kobe was responsible for leading the Lakers to three NBA championships and earning multiple individual accolades. However, after the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs in 2006, Bryant announced that he would be switching to the number 24 jersey for the 2006-2007 season.

Bryant explained that the number change was a personal decision, and that he felt that the number 24 represented a new chapter in his career.

 "I am here, and I belong here in this league."

In an interview with ESPN, Bryant said that the number 8 represented the "child" in him, while the number 24 represented the "grown man" he had become. Bryant also said that he wanted to pay homage to Los Angeles Lakers player Michael Cooper, who wore the number 24 jersey during his own playing career.

The Significance of the Number 24

The number 24 had special significance for Kobe Bryant beyond its possible connection to Michael Jordan. Some think that Kobe wanted 24 because he was going to be 1 better than MJ (23). In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Bryant revealed that the number 24 was chosen because it was the reverse of 42, which was the number worn by his childhood hero, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Jackie Robinson. Robinson was the first African American player to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball, and his pioneering efforts had a profound impact on Bryant´s own career.

Bryant wore the number 24 jersey for the remainder of his career with the Lakers, leading the team to two more NBA championships and earning multiple individual accolades. The number 24 became synonymous with Bryant´s legacy, and it was retired by the Lakers in 2017, alongside the number 8 jersey, in honor of Bryant´s contributions to the team and the game of basketball.

In addition to the number change, Bryant also made other significant changes to his game and approach during the 2006-2007 season. He went from the freak young athlete that would use his athleticism to get to spots on the court to score, to channeling his inner old man bag. This era of Kobe was when he got the reputation of having one of the most elite footwork in the history of the NBA, he also went from young player to NBA vet and mentor, becoming the leader in the locker room. 

These changes helped Bryant lead the Lakers to the NBA Finals in 2008 and 2010, where they lost to the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks, respectively.

Despite these setbacks, Bryant remained a dominant force in the NBA, earning multiple All-NBA and All-Defensive team honors and continuing to score at a high level. He played his final game with the Lakers on April 13, 2016, scoring a career-high 60 points in a victory over the Utah Jazz.

Are Kobe Bryant´s numbers retired?

Yes, Kobe Bryant´s numbers 8 and 24 were retired by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017 in honor of his contributions to the team and the game of basketball.

Final Words

Kobe Bryant changed his number from 8 to 24 during the 2006-2007 season as a personal decision to represent a new chapter in his career.