“Kobe Bryant Day” was declared by Los Angeles City Council yesterday, August 24, in celebration of the retired NBA superstar’s impressive performance in his 20-year career in basketball and philanthropic contributions. The date happened to coincide with the jersey numbers 8 and 24 that Kobe wore.
Officially declaring the Kobe Bryant Day were Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city officials on Wednesday in Los Angeles City Hall packed by a crowd of Lakers fans.
Gracing the event with his presence and with his pregnant wife and two daughters, Bryant called the experience a “huge blessing and a huge honor,” TMZ reported.
“I never ever thought that this day would ever be possible,” said the former Lakers shooting guard to a crowd of fans wearing purple and yellow.
Jokingly, Kobe then charged his two young daughters to explain to their soon-to-be-born little sister why their dad has his own day. “She’s gonna have no idea I was actually okay at playing basketball,” he said, as quoted by TMZ.
“Kobe Bryant has taught all of us in Los Angeles that this city has a fighting spirit,” Mayor Garcetti said, as quoted by Jackie Bamberger of Yahoo Sports.
“It doesn’t matter how down you are, it doesn’t matter what hardships you face. Keep showing up, keep practicing and, yes, keep winning,” the mayor added.
Not a single member of city council ran short of personal stories about Kobe and what he meant to them and the City of Angels, thanking him for “his work ethic, his loyalty to the Lakers… and his philanthropy, particularly his involvement in the fight against youth homelessness,” Bamberger reported.
One of them, Jose Huizar, said, “No matter where you live in L.A. throughout our incredibly diverse city, when Kobe Bryant and the Lakers were playing, we were all Angelenos, united watching greatness the likes of which we will rarely see again.”
For his part, Bryant said that he hopes this legacy, which inspired the city council to declare August 24 as Kobe Bryant Day, will extend beyond basketball.
“I hope that Aug. 24, this day, is a celebration of passion and hard work, dedication and mentorship. Because teaching the next generation how to achieve greatness is really what it’s all about and together as a city we can do this.
“We only play for one thing in this city, and that’s championships… We need each other to do it. And together we will do that, and certainly we will win championship after championship.”
“This is a process that I’ve been on for 17 years, to try to figure out what comes next. What you understand as athletes, once you hang up the first passion you have to find something that you’re just as passionate about,” Bryant said, as quoted by ABC Sports.
“It’s very difficult. It was difficult for me. I was born to play basketball. From the age of 4, this is all I knew. But I knew it comes to an end, so what comes next? But it took me 17 years for me to figure out what that is. It’s a lot of hard work, it’s a lot of reading. For the last three years, I was ready.”
On Monday, two days before the Los Angeles City council’s declaration of Kobe Bryant Day, Dennis Berman called Kobe a “venture capitalist” in a Wall Street Journal article, pointing to the former NBA star player’s fresh ventures in technology, media, and data services in partnership with longtime entrepreneur and investor Jeff Stibel, with a combined $100 million stake through a new firm that they named Bryant Stibel.
[Photo by Kelvin Kuo/AP Images]