LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday officially declared Aug. 24 to be Kobe Bryant Day, honoring the recently retired Laker legend on the date corresponding to the two jersey numbers he wore with the team.
Bryant – who wore the number 8 in his first 10 seasons, and the number 24 for the final 10 seasons of his career – was on hand along with his wife Vanessa and their two daughters at City Hall.
He was greeted by chants of “Kobe, Kobe, Kobe” from a packed audience in the City Council chambers.
Mayor Eric Garcetti joined members of the City Council and fans in attendance to sing the “Happy Birthday Song” to Bryant, who celebrated his 38th birthday Tuesday.
Councilman Jose Huizar noted the energy from fans was uncommon for a typical City Council meeting.
“I don’t believe in my 10 years here at City Council there has been a more exciting day than today … as we welcome Kobe Bryant on Mamba Day in the city of Los Angeles,” he said.
Several city officials weighed in on Bryant’s legacy both on and off the hardwood.
Garcetti described Bryant as “fiercely competitive” and “uncommonly loyal at a times when people switch teams like it is
a new suit they are putting on”, while Councilman Jose Huizar said the “unbelievably talented” Bryant should be admired not just for his basketball chops but also because “has taught all of us in Los Angeles that this city has a fighting spirit.”
Sporting a freshly-grown beard, Bryant reflected on his first few days after arriving in Los Angeles to play for the Lakers in what would be a career spanning two decades.
“To spend 20 years with the same time, the team that was my dream team growing up as a kid, to spend my entire career wearing that golden armor has been a huge blessing and a huge honor,” he said, adding the honor of having a day named after him was a “very surreal experience”.
Bryant lead the Lakers to win five NBA championships, and was chosen as the NBA Finals MVP for both of the team’s most recent titles.
The 6-foot-6-inch NBA star played the two guard position for most of his career, but was listed as a forward-guard in his final season.
Bryant was the league’s MVP in the 2007-2008 season, received All-NBA honors 15 times, including 11 first-team selections, and was chosen to play in the league’s All-Star Game 18 times.
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