Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, via Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times:
“I don’t know the answer. Obviously it’s going to be 8, 24 or it could be both,” said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak
Retiring both numbers initially feels excessive. No franchise has ever retired two numbers for the same player. Does Kobe – an all-time great, but not the greatest nor even the greatest Laker (Magic Johnson) – really deserve the honor?
But how many players have accomplished so much in different numbers for the same organization? Kobe has spent 10 years in each number, winning three titles in No. 8 and then two titles and an MVP in No. 24.
There isn’t precedent for anything like that.
It might seem strange to retire both numbers, but it’d also be strange for another Laker to wear No. 8. (If the Lakers retire only one, it’ll almost certainly be Kobe’s preference of No. 24.)
There’s logic behind either path. But the sooner Kobe’s number goes to the rafters – and I suspect it’ll happen next season – the more likely he gets both numbers retired in the hoopla of his retirement.