Did Kobe Bryant Choose 24 to One-Up Michael Jordan?
It’s been seven seasons since Michael Jordan last played in the NBA, yet the legend remains prevalent in basketball conversations. MJ earned six championships, six Finals MVP awards, and five regular season MVP awards during his 15-year career. He is widely considered the best player in the history of the NBA, and he goes to great lengths to preserve his legacy. That includes cutting down the stars of today’s game.
Jordan has ripped LeBron, said he would school Kobe Bryant, and further disparaged Kobe by only considering him a Top 10 guard in history. It’s no surprise Jordan would be threatened by Bryant who now has won five NBA titles, one short of tying Jordan. It also seems like the rivalry may go two ways.
Four years ago Kobe surprised everyone by announcing he was changing jersey numbers from 8 to 24. The reason for the change remains unclear; speculation has been that he changed to create more jersey sales, and that the 24 reflected Kobe’s 24/7/365 work ethic. Well here’s another theory. Dave McMenamin wrote on ESPN Los Angeles that Kobe may have intentionally chosen 24 because it’s one digit higher than Jordan’s famous 23. I don’t know if that’s true, nor does McMenamin, but it’s just as good of a theory as any other. And you know what? It works.
Kobe has established himself as one of the top players in the game and one of the best players all-time. With five championships in hand, he’s now chasing Michael Jordan. Expect the TV networks to play up that angle the rest of the season. You know that will automatically grab the attention of fans everywhere.