Twitter reacts to Kobe Bryant leaving own jersey retirement game early

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But the elements of the Lakers' young core continued their audition on Monday in a 116-114 overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors, punctuated by a tiebreaking Kevin Durant jumper with less than seven seconds remaining.

Bryant apparently had a good reason for bolting before the game ended.

"I kind of go back and forth", Bryant said with a sly grin. No. 8 or No. 24?

The Lakers couldn't choose, either. His incredible career achievements more than warrant his unique honor of having both of his jersey numbers hanging in the rafters at Staples Center, where they will be for years and years to come.

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There were Kobe video tributes, Kobe signs, deafening "Ko-be!" Bryant shared on-court embraces with O'Neal, Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Allen Iverson and former Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, among many others.

Bryant thanked his family and the fans, as well as all of the Laker legends that came before him. His numbers were revealed high on the Staples Center wall, flanking the banner honoring Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn. "It's about the jerseys that were hanging up there before", he said.

Bryant, a five-time champion, is the first National Basketball Association player to have two different numbers retired by the same franchise. Bryant then switched to No. 24 for 639 games, winning two more National Basketball Association titles and averaging 26.3 points per game. Bryant is the third-leading scorer in league history. I looked up to that man as a player for so long and he's such a talent, but an even better competitor. O'Neal, who teamed with Bryant to win three consecutive titles from 2000 to 2002 before being traded to the Heat, hailed Bryant's supreme self-confidence and said that their love-hate pairing "was fun while it lasted".

"To play his entire career for one organization, in modern sports, it really doesn't happen very often anymore", Walton added.

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But like any great champion, he wants his career to mean more.

The Lakers celebrated by closing down the street outside Staples Center and staging a street fair dubbed "Kobeland", complete with a Ferris wheel and many other games and attractions. That's it. Just work on your game, the little details of it ... just go day by day, you appreciate each day as it comes, and that's what these players will do.

"We're retiring both of your numbers because if we separated the accomplishments under each of the numbers, each of those players would qualify for the Hall of Fame", Buss said.

That's certainly what they're are hoping for, that the combination of Ingram and Ball can be the faces of the next great Lakers' team. Bryant has also joined forces with NBA China to set up the country's first NBA Basketball School.

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When pressed to pick his favorite era of his own career, Bryant reluctantly did it. 8 has something that 24 will never, ever, ever have: "the ability to grow hair". "If 24 is playing 8 when he tore his shoulder, it's a problem for No. 8.so it depends. I think legacy is really important". "It was really a grind".

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