He’s the first athlete to be honored in the courtyard.
Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa and daughters Natalia (20), Bianka (6), and Capri (3) all gathered in an emotional ceremony this past Wednesday for the unveiling of Bryant’s prints in front of Hollywood’s historic TCL Chinese Theater, NBC Los Angeles reports. The NBA icon was tragically killed in a helicopter crash in January 2020 alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. Since then, his family has been front and center to accept the posthumous honors celebrating the life of both Kobe and Gigi.
In 2011, Bryant made history as the first athlete to have his hand and footprints cemented at the TCL theatre, the prints being kept in the interior of the building since then, Daily Mail reports. This past Wednesday, the theatre moved the prints to their prestigious courtyard on Hollywood Boulevard. His eldest daughter Natalia, a current USC film student, gave an emotional speech on the importance of the moment and her father’s legacy.
“This is just a very small glimpse into his incomparable work ethic. When most people knew him as a basketball player or storyteller, I got to know and love him as my dad, and let me tell you, he is the MVP of girl dads to say the least…Being his daughter is one of the greatest joys of my life and I hope to continue to embody and cherish the many lessons he has taught me…[This honor] symbolizes the impact that he has had on a city that he loved and cared for so deeply. This also embraces the Mamba Mentality and competitiveness at being the first-ever athlete to ever accomplish this,” said Natalia.
Natalia Bryant gives a heartfelt speech honoring her father, Kobe Bryant.
Mamba’s handprints and footprints were enshrined permanently today at the famous Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. pic.twitter.com/r0qWnb2r37advertisement
— Kobe Highlights & Motivation (@kobehighlight) March 15, 2023
The five-time NBA champion and Oscar-winning athlete was also remembered by Lakers’ president Jeannie Buss and former Laker player, coach, and mentor of Bryant, Byron Scott.
“From the moment that good fortune and a great trade brought Kobe to us in 1996, he wove his way into the tapestry of this city in a way no sports fan or even non-sports fan will ever forget,” Buss said.
His family placed their hands and feet in the late patriarch’s imprints after the unveiling, Natalia encouraging fans and future generations of Bryant supporters to do the same.
“As you visit here for years to come, I encourage you to place your hands in his, and take a moment to stand in his shoes. This will be a treasure for the city of Los Angeles and my dad’s fans from all over the world to hold and to cherish,” she said.
Long live the late, great, Kobe Bryant! Because of him, we can!
Cover Photo: Kobe Bryant’s imprints unveiled at iconic Hollywood TCL Chinese Theatre/FilmMagic/Daily Mail