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Kobe Bryant.

NBA world shows love to Kobe Bryant on his Lakers jersey retirement night

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The Los Angeles Lakers honored legend Kobe Bryant with a special jersey retirement ceremony at Staples Center as they hosted the Golden State Warriors on Monday night.

The franchise decided to retire both the number eight and number 24 jerseys that he wore during his 20 hugely successful years with the team.

Kobe won five championships in L.A. and will go down as one of the greatest players to wear the Purple and Gold uniform.

As expected, there was a sell-out crowd inside the arena for what was the hottest ticket in town.

Prices for the game resembled the NBA Finals and not a regular season encounter in December. Courtside tickets were on sale for as much as $30,000 with the cheapest going for almost $700 on the night.

Past teammates and Lakers legends were also in attendance to pay tribute to Bryant such as Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers

“To now be a part of that wall means everything to me,” Bryant told reporters before the ceremony. “I think legacy is really important, in a sense of what we’ve done is awesome. But I think what’s more important for a legacy is how that affects the next generation to come.

“The jerseys that are hanging in the rafters now, the impact that they’ve had on me, which led to us being in this moment right here and now. I think that’s the true mark of a legacy, is how it impacts the next generation.”

As well as the people who came out to honor the Black Mamba inside Staples Center, the five-time champion was also showered with love by the NBA world across social media.

Fittingly, the special occasion was also accompanied by a thrilling game as the Lakers were narrowly beaten 116-114 in overtime by the Golden State Warriors for the second time this season in their own gym.

But despite another loss to the defending champions, not many teams will play them as close as they did and it's another positive sign for their future.

In his speech during the half-time ceremony, Bryant made a reference to the current Lakers roster and offered them some words of motivation.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers

"It's about embodying the spirit that exists in those jerseys up there and carrying this organization forward, so that the next 20 years is better than the past 20 years," he said.

With talented young players like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr. and Kyle Kuzma at their disposal, head coach Luke Walton says the aim for them will be to carry the franchise forward.

"The next chapter is coming out of the darkness of the Kobe era," he said.

Topics:
Pacific Division
Western Conference
NBA
Shaquille O'Neal
L.A. Lakers
Kobe Bryant
Golden State Warriors
Magic Johnson

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