The Los Angeles City Council declared Aug. 24 to be Kobe Bryant Day in honor of the two jersey numbers -- 8 and 24 -- he wore during his 20 years as a Los Angeles Laker.
"That unbreakable spirit that you have demonstrated since you were 17 years old in the city makes it easy on this 8/24, August 24, to declare Kobe Bryant Day in the City of Angels!" Mayor Eric Garcetti announced in front of a packed audience in City Council chambers on Wednesday.
Fans flooded City Hall for the event, chanting "Kobe" as the NBA legend arrived with his family and city leaders.
"I don't believe in my 10 years here at City Council there has been a more exciting day than today," Councilman Jose Huizar said, "as we welcome Kobe Bryant on Mamba Day in the city of Los Angeles."
The distinction was the perfect birthday present for Bryant, who turned 38 on Tuesday. Fans welcomed Bryant to the podium by singing "Happy Birthday."
Huizar added that Bryant should be admired not only for his unbelievable talent but also because he "has taught all of us in Los Angeles that this city has a fighting spirit."
Bryant, who wore the number 8 his first 10 seasons and 24 for the last 10, admitted that he never expected the honor.
"It's a very surreal experience having a day named after you," Bryant said. "To spend 20 years with the same team, the team that was my dream growing up as a kid, to spend my entire career wearing that golden armor has been a huge blessing and a huge honor."
Later, Bryant took to Instagram, posting, "It was MY honor to play here for 20 years. Much respect, LA."
The 6-foot-6-inch former shooting guard lead the Lakers to five championships, winning three trophies under the number 8 (2000-2002) and two under the number 24 (2009 and 2010).
Bryant ended his career third on the list of all-time scoring leaders with 33,643 points, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928), and was an 18-time All-Star. In his final game, he scored 60 points -- the most any other player in the NBA put up in a single game that season.