Council members propose renaming street for Kobe Bryant

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Members of the Los Angeles Dodgers honor Kobe Bryant by wearing his Lakers jerseys with both the numbers 8 and 24 prior to the Aug. 23 game at Dodgers Stadium. Au. 23 would have been Bryant’s 42nd birthday. (Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Dodgers)

Wave Staff and Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — Two members of the City Council are proposing that Figueroa Street in front of Staples Center be renamed Kobe Bryant Boulevard in honor of the former Laker great who was killed in a helicopter crash in January that took the lives of eight other people, including Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

City Councilmen Curren Price and Herb Wesson announced their plans to rename part of Figueroa Street on Aug. 24, a day after what would have been Bryant’s 42nd birthday.

“This is a gift to the city of Los Angeles and to all the Kobe Bryant fans around the world,” Price said in a statement announcing the proposal to rename the street. “L.A. streets will rise in honor of the ‘King of L.A.’”

Price and Wesson plan to introduce the motion before the council Aug. 25 calling for the stretch of Figueroa between Olympic and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards to be named “Kobe Bryant Boulevard.” That stretch covers the portion of the street from roughly Staples Center to Exposition Park.

A 2016 Los Angeles City Council resolution declared Aug. 24 as Kobe Bryant Day in perpetuity, on the date of the jersey numbers he wore with the team. Bryant wore the No. 8 his first 10 seasons and 24 for the final 10.

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 here in L.A.”

The Los Angeles Dodgers honored Bryant on what would have been his 42nd birthday Aug. 23. 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 in 2009 and 2010.

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 Bryant was killed in the helicopter crash in Calabasas.