City of Los Angeles Declares August 24th 'Kobe Bryant Day'

Staples Center and Los Angeles City Hall are just a short drive apart and, on Wednesday, they sounded nearly identical, as Lakers fans packed the City Council Chambers and filled them with chants of "MVP!" and "Ko-be!"

The reason for the occasion was a celebration of the man who just wrapped up a 20-year career with the Lakers: Kobe Bryant. The 38-year-old was honored by Councilmembers José Huizar and Curren Price, as well as Council President Herb Wesson, who declared Aug. 24 as "Kobe Bryant Day" in the city of Los Angeles.

“To spend 20 years with the same team — a team that was my dream team growing up — to spend my entire career wearing that golden armor has been a huge blessing,” Bryant said.

Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti was also on hand to pay tribute to Bryant on the date chosen for his two jersey numbers: 8/24.

In his speech, Garcetti turned to Lakers Co-Owner and President Jeanie Buss, sitting front-row, and applauded her father, the late Dr. Jerry Buss, on his decision to draft Bryant in 1996.

“We won not just a great player, but a person who defined what this city’s spirit became,” Garcetti said. “Kobe Bryant has taught all of us in Los Angeles that this city has a fighting spirit.

“It doesn’t matter how down you are. It doesn’t matter what hardships you’ve faced. You keep showing up. You keep practicing. You keep going. And, yes, you keep winning.”

In addition to his on-court accomplishments — including five championships, 18 All-Star selections, the third-most points in NBA history and the 2008 MVP award — the City Council honored Bryant for his philanthropy, such as he and his wife's commitment to battling homelessness through the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation.

He was further acknowledged for his serving as the honorary chair of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles’s annual HomeWalk, while also working with Make-A-Wish, NBA Cares, The Boys and Girls Clubs of America and After-School All-Stars.

Garcetti testified to Bryant's impact not only in L.A., but across the globe, saying, "When I’m in China and I say I’m the mayor of Los Angeles, they say, ‘Oh, where Kobe’s from?’”

Bryant himself smiled and laughed throughout the reflection on his basketball career, but kept an eye toward the future while addressing the audience.

“I hope that this legacy extends beyond basketball,” Bryant said. “I hope that Aug. 24, this day, becomes a celebration of passion, hard work, dedication and mentorship, because teaching the next generation about achieving greatness is really what it’s all about.

"Together as a city, we can do this as one team — and we only play for one thing here in this city and that’s championships. Inspiring the next generation to achieve their dreams — whatever that dream may be — is the most important thing to do, and we need each other to do it.”