Lakers.com has a quick note on Kobe's uniform change from 8 to 24:
The story as I understood was a little more than that. As you may know, Kobe was formerly signed to Addidas. Kobe later signed with NIKE who had the loyalty to stand by him through his legal troubles. However, apparently (no research done by me on this -- I either heard it or read it somewhere) Adidas was still using #8 as a selling point even though Mamba had moved on to a different athletic company. So what's the best move if a company is using you to make money that you aren't getting a piece of? Change whatever it is that company is using to make loot. No association, no appreciation.