The Mamba’s Era

Evan Goldrick, Contributor

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An all-time great, an NBA MVP, a 5x league champion, 2 finals MVPs, and an 18-time NBA all-star. Kobe Bryant, a player who can make a solid case for the title of “Greatest of all Time,” is receiving one of the ultimate honors in the basketball world for one of the most accomplished organizations of all time. 

The career Laker is having his Jersey retired on Dec. 18, 2017 at the Staples Center where both of his jerseys (8 and 24) will be hung in the rafters alongside that of Lakers legends like Wilt Chamberlain (13), Elgin Baylor (22), Erving “Magic” Johnson (32), his former team mate Shaquille O’Neal (34), and many more. The legend will be the only NBA player in history to have two jerseys retired with the same franchise though. 

Before the announcement of both jerseys’ retirements Arash Markazi said in a tweet, “I think Kobe gets No. 24 retired after his career, but No. 8 never gets worn by another Laker.” This is significant because it shows that both numbers symbolized arguably the greatest player in Lakers history and the legacy left by him that should remain untouched in both forms, Kobe’s 8 and 24 numbers. These were the numbers of an icon for the NBA, Jordan had 23 and 45, only 23 was retired though because that was his iconic numbers. 

As many of the all-time greats and faces of the league, Kobe’s hard work and determination alongside his “mamba mentality” combine for one of the deadliest scorers this league has ever seen. This mentality is shown when Kobe himself said, “I would go 0-for-30 before I would go 0-for-9. 0-for-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game. … The only reason is because you’ve just now lost confidence in yourself.” He’s proven he’s willing to play awfully, but no one will stop him from taking his shots because he thought that no one was on the same level as him. Furthermore, he said: “I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.” He’s saying how his work ethic is so dominant that he can’t even understand how people can be lazy because greatness is just a work ethic and a grind away. 

As the Mamba’s reign over the NBA has ended and new faces of the league rise up, there will never be another LA Laker to wear numbers 8 and 24, those numbers will be hung among many NBA legends and surrounded by that at which it seemed to seek, greatness. 

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