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O.C. Board of Supervisors declares Aug. 24 as Kobe Bryant Day

Kobe Bryant greets parents at the Daily Pilot Cup youth soccer tournament in 2013.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The Orange County Board of Supervisors has declared Aug. 24 to be Kobe Bryant Day, in honor of the late basketball star and Newport Coast resident who died in a helicopter crash in January.

Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel said at Tuesday’s meeting that she picked the date to honor both of Bryant’s numbers with the Los Angeles Lakers, 8 and 24. Kobe Bryant Day will be one day after Aug. 23, which would have been Bryant’s 42nd birthday.

“I’m proposing Aug. 24 to be dedicated to the memory of Kobe Bryant and all that he brought to the Orange County community,” Steel said. “We should strive to live by his words of encouraging those around us to never give up on their dreams.”

She then repeated a quote of Bryant’s: “The most important thing is to try and inspire people, so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.”

Bryant played his whole NBA career for the Lakers from 1996 to 2016. He and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were two of nine people killed when their helicopter crashed on Jan. 26 in Calabasas.

Longtime Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and 14-year-old daughter, Alyssa, were also among the deceased, along with Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan.

In approving the resolution, Supervisor Don Wagner said Bryant’s life “should not be judged by its worst day or only the worst elements in mind.” Bryant was accused of rape in Colorado in 2003, but the criminal case was dropped when the accuser would not testify. A civil suit was settled out of court in 2005.

“Kobe Bryant faced challenges of his own making and challenges thrown at him by life,” Wagner said. “He overcame them. Today we celebrate the effort in overcoming those challenges and the good in that life. It’s not to discount the bad but rather to recognize and encourage the good.”

Bryant was a five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star with the Lakers. He was selected as part of the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame class, but that ceremony has been pushed to 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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