CARSON (CBSLA) – The city of Carson Friday officially renamed a gymnasium in honor of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who was one of nine people who died in a helicopter crash last month.

Officials held a ceremony Friday morning to rename the city-owned gym located in Veterans Park, in the 22400 block of Moneta Avenue, the “Kobe Bryant Gym.”

Feb. 21, 2020. (CBS2)

The Carson City Council unanimously approved the name-change on Tuesday.

“When kids come here, and they see the Kobe Bryant gym, I’m hoping that children from Carson will take special pride to know that Kobe played on this very gym, shot baskets right here just like them,” Carson Mayor Albert Robles said Friday.

Just prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Kobe came to the gym to play with China’s youth basketball team. Footage of the scrimmage was shot by Nike.

“It was really exciting just to see him, walk through the halls, and say, ‘Hey Kobe!'” Carson resident Edwina Mailo said.

On the morning of Jan. 26, Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed when the helicopter they were riding in crashed in the Calabasas hills amid heavy fog.

The helicopter had departed from John Wayne Airport in Orange County and was bound for Camarillo, with the passengers on board heading to Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, where he was set to coach Gianna in a tournament game.

Thousands of people will honor Kobe and Gianna in a Celebration of Life ceremony Monday morning at Staples Center.

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