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Mar 29 2006 10:49AM

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

THE PLAYERS
Behind The Numbers
Gilbert Arenas 0, Wizards
Marcus Banks 3, Timberwolves
Mike Bibby 10, Kings
Andrew Bogut 6, Bucks
Kobe Bryant 8, Lakers
Jarron Collins 31, Jazz
Tony Delk 00, Pistons
Melvin Ely 2, Bobcats
Pau Gasol 16, Grizzlies
Manu Ginobli 20, Spurs
Drew Gooden 90, Cavaliers
Grant Hill 33, Magic
Royal Ivey 36, Hawks
Linton Johnson 43, Hornets
Dikembe Mutombo 55, Rockets
Eric Piatkowski 52, Bulls
Paul Pierce 34, Celtics
Shavlik Randolph 42, Sixers
Earl Watson 25, Sonics

Kobe Bryants famous number 8 jersey has long been one of the NBAs top selling jerseys over the years, but Bryant has not always worn the number.

In high school I started out with number 24. Then I went to number 33 later on. 33 was the number my father wore in high school, so I just switched it to carry on the lineage.

When Bryant jumped from Lower Merion High School to the professional ranks joining the Lakers, Bryant did not even have the opportunity to select number 33. That number was already previously retired after being worn by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Kobe chose the number 8 because his uniform number as a high schooler at the ADIDAS ABCD Camp was 143 (1+4+3=8), but the number switch was easy. I wore the number 8 when I was a kid playing in the Italian leagues, so it was a smooth transition from number 33.

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