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Kevin Garnett Opens Up About Kobe Bryant No. 8 Era Challenges

Kevin Garnett Opens Up About Kobe Bryant No. 8 Era Challenges

Exploring Kobe Bryant's Early NBA Journey and Triumphs.

by Nouman Rasool
Kevin Garnett Opens Up About Kobe Bryant No. 8 Era Challenges
© Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

And so it is that in the annals of NBA history, the list stands alone in that Kobe Bryant is the only person to have had both of his jersey numbers retired. Period. Full stop. End of story. The debate between the significance of numbers 8 and 24 in Kobe's career has long intrigued fans and analysts alike.

But the recent-inspired opinion came from Boston Celtics legend Kevin Garnett, who sided with the number 24 in an episode of 'KG Certified' full of enlightenment. Garnett explained this clear change in the character and playing style of Bryant as he went from 8 to 24.

He said, "Kobe, who was wearing the number 8, was a force to reckon with but shrouded in controversy, often criticized for his playing style and seen as a loner. On the contrary, the Kobe who wore the 24 jersey came out with a changed mindset, a phoenix out of the ashes, representing a player reborn."

Kobe's Formative No.

8 Era

Kobe entered the league wearing number 8, a time when he was predominantly considered as Shaquille O'Neal's wonder sidekick. Nevertheless, right from the get-go, it was evident the raw ferocity of Bryant and his sensational scoring capabilities were paying dividends.

And these formative years for Bryant were not without their own set of daunting challenges: they were the years of formulating his attitude and the narrative about his approach to the game and his ability to win a title by himself after O'Neal left.

In 2006, as the curtain came down on his 8th season of play in 8, Bryant scored an incomprehensible 81 points versus the Raptors, a feat still etched in NBA folklore. The move to number 24 in anticipation of the 2006-07 season created ripples around the basketball globe in an action Bryant described as defining the progress of his career.

He explained, "The number 8 signified my first attempts to make a name and an impact in the league. The change to 24 was growth, a reflection of my move and growth as an athlete and a person." And that change marked a new era in Bryant's spectacular career, added with strategic finesse to the mental acuity that had won him his first MVP in 2008 and, through 2010, led the Lakers to back-to-back championships.

Kobe's legacy, combined in both numbers 8 and 24, continue to inspire. In an enshrined duality, in a serendipitous realization, the Lakers decided to retire them together in December 2017—immortalizing Kobe's contributions to the sport and the impression he has left on the world of basketball aficionados everywhere.

Kobe Bryant