Orange County, California, passed a vote on Tuesday to officially recognize Kobe Bryant Day. The residents of the area will celebrate the life of the late NBA player on Aug. 24, following his death in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna and seven others. The date of Kobe Bryant Day (8/24) features both of his jersey numbers with the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to Entertainment Tonight, the members of the Orange County Board settled on Aug. 24 as the date for multiple reasons. Bryant's jersey number was one, but they also took into account his birthday. The late NBA icon was born on Aug. 23, 1978. Orange County Board Chairwoman Michelle Steel also said that Bryant was a "treasured member" of the community and that he inspired men and women alike to pursue their dreams and never give up.
"Kobe Bryant's life, like each one of us who ever lived, presents moments to celebrate and to condemn," said Don Wagner, Orange County Board Supervisor. "Kobe, like all of us, faced challenges, challenges of his own making and challenges thrown at him by life, that he overcame. Today, we celebrate the effort in overcoming those challenges. So we strike a balance, and on balance here the good recognized in the resolution brought here is worth celebrating."
When NBA fans heard the news about Kobe Bryant Day, they reacted with excitement. Many proclaimed that this day should become a national holiday given the impact that Bryant had on the entire country. Others asked if John Wayne Airport could undergo a name change and become Mamba Airport.
Bryant died on Jan. 26 in a shocking helicopter crash. He was traveling to the Mamba Sports Academy for a basketball tournament, along with his daughter Gianna, Alyssa Altobelli, John and Keri Altobelli, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan. The helicopter crashed in the mountains above Calabasas, California, after witnesses said that it was "struggling" to climb.
In the days, weeks and months following the fatal crash, fans honored Bryant's memory in several ways. Some traveled to Los Angeles to get special memorial tattoos while others left gifts at the Staples Center, the home of the Los Angeles Lakers. Many others posted tributes to Bryant on social media. Now they can celebrate Kobe Bryant Day while honoring his memory.
With a career that spanned 20 years and 1,346 games, Bryant is known as one of the NBA's all-time greats. The former Los Angeles Laker was named an NBA All-Star 18 times, and he was a member of five championship teams. He also had two separate numbers (8, 24) retired by the Lakers following his retirement. He is fourth on the NBA's All-Time scoring list.