The Evolution Of Kobe Bryant’s Jersey

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The late great Kobe Bryant, a name synonymous with excellence and a relentless pursuit of greatness, left an indelible mark on the NBA. Throughout his illustrious career, he wore three iconic jerseys, each representing a distinct era of his basketball journey. Let’s take a look back at the regalia worn by one of the greatest basketball players in history and how it shaped his incredible career.

 

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Kobe Bryant High School #33 Jersey

Bryant, a native of Philadelphia, attended Lower Merion High School, a place where he would spend his formative years perfecting his shot and learning the ins and outs of basketball. The NBA legend cut his teeth as a guard for the Lower Merion Aces and proudly wore his No. 33 jersey while doing so. The jersey became synonymous with the star’s passion for knowledge, practice and his unwavering confidence to win.

Gregg Downer, the Ace’s trusted basketball coach, met Bryant when he was 13 years old at a varsity training.

“Five minutes into the workout, I turned to my assistant coaches and I said, ‘This kid is a pro.’ I could tell right away. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at the age of 13,” Downer told Fox Sports in 2021. According to Bryant’s former teammate David Lasman, during senior year, the 6-foot-6 athlete bragged that he would be better than Michael Jordan one day, USA Today noted.

The laser-focused athlete would stop at nothing to win a game. Emory Dabney, another teammate who was close with the NBA legend, said Bryant would often encourage players to pass him the ball during team huddles. “Just give me the ball and get out of the way” he once told his teammates, before leading the Aces to a victorious win.

The basketball star’s indomitable spirit helped him to achieve several historic strides while attending Lower Merion. The outstanding athlete led the Aces to their first state championship in 1996. He also broke the scoring record of Wilt Chamberlain, landing 2,833 points to the latter’s 2,252 points.

Bryant’s retired No. 33 jersey was reportedly stolen in 2017 from the Lower Merion High School campus. A year later, the iconic regalia was purchased by a Bryant super-fan named Liu Zhe, after an online seller approached him an opportunity to buy an autographed edition of the baller’s memorabilia. Zhe purchased the jersey for $2000 according to ESPN. In 2019, the collector —  sensing something amiss with the jersey —  took action by reaching out to the school. Zhe helped to facilitate the return of the cherished item back to Lower Merion.

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Kobe Bryant #8 Jersey

Kobe burst onto the NBA scene in 1996, a fresh-faced 18-year-old straight out of high school. Sporting the No. 8 jersey for the Los Angeles Lakers, he showcased a blend of skill, athleticism and unwavering determination that captivated fans worldwide.

The Charlotte Hornets initially drafted Bryant with the 13th pick in 1996 but swiftly traded him to the Lakers in exchange for center Vlade Divac, The Athletic notes. From there, Bryant’s career soared to incredible heights. He amassed accolades such as the 2007-08 NBA MVP Award, clinched two Finals MVPs, secured two Olympic gold medals, and earned an impressive 18 All-Star selections.

In the No. 8 jersey, Bryant quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with, winning three NBA championships and earning numerous accolades. His high-flying dunks, scoring prowess and relentless work ethic solidified his place among the league’s elite.

Source: Kevork Djansezian / Getty

 

Kobe Changes His Jersey To #24

As Kobe’s career progressed, so did his jersey number. In 2006, he made the switch to No. 24, signifying a new chapter in his career. This era showcased a more seasoned Bryant, honing his skills and evolving into a more well-rounded player.

The No. 24 Kobe displayed unparalleled footwork, a lethal scoring ability from all areas of the court, and a dedication to his craft that was second to none. He added another two NBA championships to his legacy and left an indelible mark as one of the greatest players in basketball history. Bryant retired in 2016 four years before he died in a tragic helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

Source: Helen H. Richardson / Getty

Kobe’s Team USA #10 Jersey

Kobe led the USA Basketball team to gold during the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. The Philly native repped the No. 10 on his jersey during both games.

In 2021, Boston Celtics Power Forward Jayson Tatum wore the late NBA star’s iconic regalia during the Summer Olympics to honor Bryant’s legacy.

“With this being the first Olympics since we lost him, it holds that much more value,” Tatum said at the time, according to The Associated Press. “It’s not something I take lightly.” The baller added, “It’s a tremendous honor and I’ll wear it proudly.”

How Much is Kobe Bryant’s Jersey Worth?

Kobe Bryant’s jerseys hold significant value, especially those worn during iconic games or pivotal moments in his career. In February 2023, Bryant’s No. 24 Laker jersey sold for a whopping $5.8 million at a Sotheby’s auction. The iconic jersey was worn by the late NBA champ during 25 games of his 2007-2008 season. According to CNBC, “It’s the most expensive Kobe Bryant item ever sold at auction and the second most valuable jersey ever to be sold at auction.”

In 2022, a lucky bidder acquired Bryant’s No. 8 jersey at an auction for $2.73 million, NBA notes. Bryant wore the jersey throughout his rookie season and two playoff games.

SEE ALSO:

LeBron James: The NBA Champ And Dedicated Dad

Is Rich Paul Becoming The Most Powerful Man In Sports?

 

The post The Evolution Of Kobe Bryant’s Jersey appeared first on NewsOne.

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