Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Shaquille O’Neal had his number 34 jersey retired by the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this week – even if it was the wrong way round – and this has naturally sparked up some debate (again) about which number the Lakers should retire when Kobe Bryant leaves the game for good.
I know “Kobe” and “retirement” are two words that Laker fans don’t like to see put together, but sadly the day will soon come when number 24 no longer suits up in the purple and gold – and neither will number 8 for that matter.
There’s no way that any player can ever wear 8 or 24 again for the Lakers, so in my eyes, the team should do something never done before: retire both numbers.
According to Dave McMenamin, this is something that the team may actually be considering:
That makes perfect sense to me. How could you ever decide which number to choose? In number 8, Kobe won three championships (with Shaq) and dropped 81 points. But in number 24, he led the team to back-to-back titles and still put on legendary performances, such as dropping a record 61 points at Madison Square Garden, reeling off four straight 40-plus point games and becoming the first guy since Jerry West in 1970 to put up back-to-back 40-plus points and 10-plus assists games.
Kobe’s currently in his 17th year: if he plays 20 seasons, he’ll have 10 years in each jersey: If he wins another championship, he’ll have 3 rings in each. I think if either of these things happen – or both – then the Lakers would be almost forced to retire both numbers.
Either way, the Lakers need to make history by hoisting both number 8 and 24 in the rafters when the dreaded day finally comes.