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- The Los Angeles Lakers retired both of Kobe Bryant’s jerseys on Monday night during halftime of the team’s game against the Warriors.
- While introducing Bryant, Magic Johnson referred to him as “the greatest who’s ever worn the purple and gold.”
- Bryant thanked his family and the fans, as well as all of the Laker legends that came before him.
The Los Angeles Lakers honored Kobe Bryant during halftime of Monday night’s game against the Warriors, retiring both his no. 8 and no. 24 jerseys to the rafters of the Staples Center in an emotional ceremony.
First to speak was Lakers president of basketball operations and fellow Laker legend Magic Johnson, who called Bryant “the greatest who’s ever worn the purple and gold.”
“I hope you recorded every game, and I hope you’re doing the same tonight,” Johnson told the crowd, “because there will never be another Kobe Bryant.”
Lakers controlling owner and president Jeanie Buss then came out to thank Bryant, as chants of “KO-BE! KO-BE! KO-BE!” rang through the Staples Center. “We’re retiring both of your numbers, because if you separated each of these of the accomplishments under those numbers, each of those players would qualify for the Hall of Fame,” Buss said.
Tearing up, Buss continued, “Kobe, I thank you for staying loyal to the purple and gold, and remaining a Laker for life when it might have been easier to leave. We asked for your hustle and you gave us your heart, which was so much more.”
After the jerseys were raised to the rafters, Bryant finally stepped to the microphone, thanking the crowd, and praising both the past and future of the Lakers organization, citing many of the all time Laker-greats that came before him as his inspiration.
Bryant also thanked his wife Vanessa, and shared an anecdote about how she lifted his spirits ahead of the final game of his career. To end the emotional night in Los Angeles, Bryant spoke directly to his three daughters, before closing with his trademark “Mamba out.”
You can watch the whole ceremony below.