Lakers Debating Which Kobe Bryant Jersey Number to Retire

As the Los Angeles Lakers prepare for life without Kobe Bryant when the 2015-16 season ends, the front office is facing a conundrum when it comes to which of the future Hall of Famer's jersey numbers should be eventually retired.

According to a report Tuesday from TMZ Sports, the Lakers front office will hold meetings to determine if they will retire Bryant's No. 8 or No. 24. 

"We have had a couple very casual and preliminary conversations internally about this over the past few years," a Lakers spokesperson told TMZ. "But now that Kobe has officially announced a retirement date, I anticipate we will discuss this more formally in the coming weeks and months."

If the Lakers let Bryant make the decision, it will likely be his current number.

Kevin Ding, writing for the Orange County Register in April 2013, reported Bryant's preference is to have his Lakers' No. 24 jersey retired. 

Bryant wore the No. 8 for the first 10 years of his career (1996-2006) and won three of his five NBA titles in that uniform. He made the switch to No. 24 starting with the 2006-07 season as a tribute to the jersey number he had at Lower Merion High School, per's Darren Rovell.

Since taking on the No. 24 with the Lakers, Bryant has won two more NBA titles, two NBA Finals MVP awards and one NBA MVP award. 

There's no question that Bryant will have his number retired by the Lakers at some point. Using the No. 24 would make sense from his perspective, because it was the uniform in which he carved out his own identity with the Lakers, leading the franchise to titles without Shaquille O'Neal. 

Yet, the No. 8 was Bryant's signature for so long, including when he dropped 81 points on the Toronto Raptors, that there is no wrong answer in this debate. 

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