Kobe Bryant may be in China right now, but that's not stopping him from preparing for his jersey retirement ceremony on Dec. 18.
On that night, the Los Angeles Lakers will honor the five-time NBA champion by hanging both his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys in the rafters of the Staples Center.
And, based on what Bryant did after learning about the honor, he's determined to look like he did during his playing career when he attends the ceremony.
After learning of the Lakers' plans, Bryant hit the gym at 4 a.m. China time, getting a long workout in before the sun rose, as you can see from his Instagram post:
Considering Bryant posted (and then deleted) an Instagram post with the hashtag "#thickmamba" recently, it seems he's determined to get back to being "#monstermamba" before December:
As we learned throughout Kobe's playing career, it's always unwise to bet against him, so it's safe to say he'll be back to his old strong self by the time the calendar flips to December.
The honor of having two jersey numbers retired is very much appreciated by Bryant, who commented on the upcoming ceremony in a press release sent out by the Lakers:
"As a kid growing up in Italy, I always dreamed of my jersey hanging in the Lakers rafters, but I certainly never imagined two of them," said Bryant. "The Lakers have bestowed a huge honor on me and I'm grateful for the fans' enthusiasm around this game."
Obviously, the Dec. 18 game against the defending NBA champions will be a big one for the Lakers, but one they're probably not yet at a point that they can win.
However, having Kobe in the building is certainly a motivating factor, so we'll have to see what the young Lakers can do against the high-flying Warriors.
Lakers controlling owner and CEO Jeanie Buss is excited to have Bryant back at the Staples Center for the upcoming ceremony:
"Kobe's jerseys are taking their rightful home next to the greatest Lakers of all time," said Buss. "There was never any doubt this day would come, the only question was when. Once again, Lakers fans will celebrate our hero, and once again, our foes will envy the legendary Kobe Bryant."
If anyone deserves to have two jersey numbers retired, it's Bryant, who won multiple titles in each number and led the Lakers through one of the greatest periods in their storied history. The Dec. 18 ceremony should be an emotional one for Los Angeles fans.