The City of Los Angeles will honor the late Kobe Bryant by renaming a portion of the street surrounding Staples Center after the Lakers legend.
‘Figueroa Street will soon be Kobe Bryant Boulevard between Olympic (Boulevard) & (Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard),’ LA city councilman Herb J. Wesson Jr wrote on Twitter, while referencing Bryant’s nickname, Black Mamba.
‘Kobe’s legacy is bigger than basketball. #KobeBryantBlvd will be a reminder to everyone, young and old who drive down it, there is no obstacle too big and that with the #Mambamentality, anything is possible.’
The Lakers plan on honoring Bryant with ‘Black Mamba’ uniforms for Game 4 of their first-round series against Portland on Monday inside the league’s bubble at Disney World, outside Orlando.
The announcements were made as Bryant’s friends, family, and fans have come together in recent days to honor his memory.
Bryant, who would have turned 42 on Sunday, died along with his 12-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash along the California coast in January. Furthermore, Monday marked an Orange County (California) holiday in Bryant’s honor, since the date, 8/24, happens to be the two jersey numbers he wore with the Lakers.
Many around the country honored Bryant on his birthday, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, who all warmed up before their game while wearing his Lakers replica jerseys.
Meanwhile WNBA star Diana Taurasi wore a jersey with his name and No. 8 while scoring a season-high 34 points during the team’s win over Washington on Sunday.
‘When you do something like that, you can’t not give that Kobe effort,’ Taurasi told reporters afterwards. ‘When I got to the game I was like, ‘Is this the right thing to do?’ Once I put it on there was only one way to play. I’m not talking about scoring points, I’m talking about loving basketball and competing and putting that effort that he taught me by watching him.’
Bryant and Gianna were both WNBA fans, and Bryant had even dubbed Taurasi the ‘White Mamba.’
‘It’s a bittersweet moment. We celebrate him but still mourn him.,’ Taurasi said. ‘We mourn him, Gigi everyone on that helicopter. We lost a lot that day. We’ll continue to do so that Kobe, Gigi and his family are honored the right way.’
Bryant’s widow Vanessa gave a lengthy social media message to his fans on Sunday: ‘To my baby. Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU!’
New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu shared a video of Bryant on her Instagram page while the recently retired Vince Carter took to Twitter to honor the 18-time NBA All-Star.
‘Happy 42nd Birthday my guy. You are missed!!!’ wrote Carter, who added the hashtags #Mambaforever and #KobeBeanBryant.
Ionescu and Carter weren’t alone in showing their love for the five-time NBA champion over social media.
Legendary tennis star Billie Jean King wrote the following on Twitter: ‘On this difficult day for his family, we send them love and prayers, and comfort from happy memories of their time together.’
The NBA and WNBA posted pictures honoring Bryant as well, while the Lakers featured a graphic that read ‘Happy Birthday’ as well as a video with the caption that said, ‘Husband, Laker, Oscar Winner, Girl Dad, Author, Black Mamba, Champion, Mentor, Hall of Famer. Kobe Bryant’.
Bryant will be enshrined posthumously into the Basketball Hall of Fame next year.