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18-Year-Old Kobe Bryant Reveals Why He Wore No. 8 For Lakers

Kobe Bryant

For much of his NBA career, Kobe Bryant donned the number 24 for the Lakers, and it's what most fans see when they picture the basketball legend on the court today.

But Bryant also wore no. 8 for a while and had great success while rocking it on his jersey. The story of how he picked the number, though, might just be the best part of all.

In a resurfaced video of a young Bryant, he explains his choice in detail.

"I was playing in a High School tournament and my number was 143. and that was the best week I've ever had playing basketball as a top notch competitor. So I basically added them up for a number, which is 8."

Of course, he did offer an explanation for his number change in 2006. It's what he wore in Lower Merion High School and it became a sort of 'clean slate' for the Lakers star after Shaq's departure in 2004.

"When I first came in at 8, is really trying to 'plant your flag' sort of thing," Bryant said. "I got to prove that I belong here in this league. I've got to prove that I'm one of the best in this league. You're going after them. It's nonstop energy and aggressiveness and stuff. Then 24 is a growth from that," he explained, via Bleacher Report. "Physical attributes aren't there the way they used to be, but the maturity level is greater. Marriage, kids. Start having a broader perspective being one of the older guys on the team now, as opposed to being the youngest. Things evolve."

Today, both no. 8 and no. 24 have been retired by the Lakers, and for good reason. As an 18x All-Star, 15x All-NBA player, and 5x Champion, he is not only one of the best Lakers ever: he's one of the best basketball players ever.

Sadly, Bryant passed away in a devastating plane crash two years ago and the world has missed his presence ever since. But stories like these, which resurface frequently, help keep his legacy alive.