The Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly considering retiring Los Angeles Lakers’ late star Kobe Bryant’s jersey number. Bryant, famously known for wearing both numbers 8 and 24 throughout his illustrious 20-year career, would potentially have his Lower Merion High School No. 33 jersey retired by his hometown of Philadelphia. Lower Merion, located in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, was made famous by Bryant, who never attended college before being drafted in 1996.
Podcaster Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson hinted at the possibility, tweeting the comments of former CEO of the 76ers, Scott O’Neil. O’Neil, who stepped down in June after eight years with the organization, reportedly told Bally Sports that it was an "interesting idea" and that, “That’s something that Daryl Morey and Doc Rivers and Elton [Brand] will weigh on for sure. That’s something Chris Heck, the President of 76ers, will weigh on.”
The Black Mamba concluded his legendary career with the Lakers in 2016, finishing with five NBA Championships, 18 All-Star appearances, and a league MVP trophy. His sudden, tragic passing in late January 2020, along with his daughter Gigi and seven others, permanently shocked the entire basketball world. Since then, many teams across the league have paid tribute to the late athlete.
Jason Miller/Getty ImagesAlmost immediately after his passing, the Sixers honored Bryant by warming up in custom Kobe jerseys, with variations of both his numbers 8 and 24 worn by their players-- a symbol that Bryant's impact on basketball stretched much wider than simply his career with the Lakers.
There is no disputing the impact the Black Mamba has had on the game of basketball-- amongst his fans, peers, and the sport’s entire community. An impact not restricted to the cities of Philadelphia and Los Angeles, but in states and countries across the globe. The potential gesture would only further the legend that is Kobe Bryant.