Two Los Angeles City Council members introduced a motion Tuesday calling for a stretch of Figueroa Street downtown to be renamed in honor of late Laker legend Kobe Bryant.
“This is a gift to the city of Los Angeles and to all the Kobe Bryant fans around the world,” City Councilman Curren Price said Monday. “L.A. streets will rise in honor of the `King of L.A.”’
Price and Councilman Herb Wesson are proposing to rename the stretch of Figueroa between Olympic and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards to “Kobe Bryant Boulevard.” That stretch covers the portion of the street in front of Staples Center and extending to roughly Exposition Park.
“Kobe gave his heart to the city of Los Angeles, the city he loved and the city that loved him right back,” Price said. “The essence of his hard work, all of the blood, sweat, broken bones, heartbreaking losses and triumphant wins lives here and in our hearts forever.”
On Monday — Aug. 24 — the city celebrated Kobe Bryant Day, a permanent designation that was approved by the City Council in 2016. The date reflects the number 8 jersey Bryant wore during his first 10 seasons with the Lakers, and the number 24 he wore during his second decade with the team.
City Councilman Jose Huizar, who introduced the 2016 resolution, said Bryant should be admired not just because he is “unbelievably talented,” but because he “has taught all of us in Los Angeles that this city has a fighting spirit.”
“It doesn’t matter how down you are,” Huizar said. “It doesn’t matter what hardships you face. You keep showing up, you keeping practicing, you keep going and yes you keep winning and here in L.A.”
The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Aug. 11 to also declare Aug. 24 as Kobe Bryant Day. Bryant was a resident of Newport Beach.
Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel, who introduced the motion, called Bryant a “treasured member of our community,” who “inspired so many men and women to pursue their dreams and never give up.”
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers honored the memories of Kobe and Gianna Bryant on what would have been his 42nd birthday.
During ceremonies before the 11-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies, Dodger players donned Kobe Bryant’s Nos. 8 and 24 jerseys and the team played a tribute video narrated by retired broadcaster Vin Scully.
“Kobe demonstrated that he was a man of many talents,” Scully said. “He was a champion, a mentor, a creative force, an advocate.
“Kobe was also a husband and a father to four wonderful girls. The warrior that we knew as `The Black Mamba’ was a sweetheart to his wife Vanessa and a proud `Girl Dad’ to Natalia, Bianka, Capri and his daughter known as `the Mambacita,’ Gianna.
“Gigi was worthy of her dad’s nickname. She shared his passion for basketball and so much more. He in turn wanted her to have every opportunity to succeed, and he believed that the women’s game deserved as much respect and support as the men received.”
Kobe Bryant’s No. 24 and Gianna’s youth basketball No. 2 were painted on the pitcher’s mound.
Bryant played his entire 20-season career with the Lakers, helping them win five NBA championships, and was chosen as the NBA Finals MVP for both of the two most recent championships.
The 6-foot-6-inch Bryant, a guard for most of his career but listed as a forward-guard in his final season, scored 33,643 points, the fourth-most in league history, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928) and LeBron James (34,241).
James passed Bryant on the all-time list Jan. 25, one day before Kobe and Gianna Bryant and seven others were killed in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash in Calabasas.