LOS ANGELES — It’s been a whirlwind retirement for Kobe Bryant.
On Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers legend rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange to unveil his new $100 million venture-capital fund. Tuesday, he celebrated his 38th birthday. And on Wednesday, he was back in the city where he won five NBA titles, as the Los Angeles City Council declared Aug. 24 “Kobe Bryant Day.”[restrict]
The date marks the two jersey numbers (8 and 24) Bryant wore during his 20 years with the club. Laker faithful packed into the City Council chambers, frequently breaking out into familiar chats of “Ko-be, Ko-be, Ko-be,” as Mayor Eric Garcetti and a long list of city officials took turns honoring Bryant.
“Kobe Bryant has taught all of us in Los Angeles, that this city has a fighting spirit,” Garcetti said. “It doesn’t matter how down you are, it doesn’t matter what hardships you face. Keep showing up, keep practicing and, yes, keep winning.”
Seemingly every councilmember in attendance had a personal story to tell about Bryant and what he means to the City of Angels. They praised his work ethic, his loyalty to the Lakers (yes, a few shots were taken at certain league superstars) and his philanthropy, particularly his involvement in the fight against youth homelessness.
“No matter where you live in L.A. throughout our incredibly diverse city, when Kobe Bryant and the Lakers were playing, we were all Angelenos, united watching greatness the likes of which we will rarely see again,” said Councilmember Jose Huizar.
Before Bryant could take the mic, the adoring crowd joined together to serenade him with a belated rendition of “Happy Birthday.”[/restrict]