Kobe Bryant the greatest LA Lakers player – Magic Johnson


Kobe Bryant was called the “greatest” Los Angeles Lakers player of all time by Magic Johnson as his number eight and 24 shirts were retired.

Five-time NBA champion Bryant, 39, ended his 20-year career in April 2016 as an 18-time All-Star.

The ceremony to retire his jerseys took place at half-time of the match against NBA champions Golden State Warriors.

“We’re here to celebrate the greatest to ever wear the purple and gold,” said ex-Lakers player Johnson.

Johnson, who is now Lakers president of basketball operations, added: “He made us rub our eyes and wonder what did we just see.

“There will never, ever be another Kobe Bryant.”

Bryant won three NBA titles wearing the number eight and two in the 24, having played 10 seasons wearing each number.

He is the 10th player to receive the honour of having his jerseys retired with the list also including Johnson. The others are; Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, James Worthy, Jerry West and Jamaal Wilkes.

The crowd chanted Bryant’s name and gave him a standing ovation during his ceremony.

“Thank you so much for tonight,” said Bryant.

“It’s not about my jerseys that are hanging up there for me. It’s about the jerseys that were hanging up there before.”

‘We asked for your hustle and you gave us your heart’

Some of Bryant’s achievements include being the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also two-time NBA scoring champion and a two-time Olympic champion.

He finished as the Lakers’ all-time point scorer and third on the NBA’s all-time list with 33,643 points.

In his final game, he also became the oldest player in NBA history to score 60 points.

“What we’re celebrating is the journey you took us on for those 20 years,” said Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.

“If you separate the accomplishments of each of those jerseys, both of those players would be in the Hall of Fame.

“We asked for your hustle and you gave us your heart which was so much more. You have forever made your mark on this franchise.”

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