California Republican seeks to make Aug. 24 ‘Kobe Bryant Day’
Aug. 24 could soon become known as “Kobe Bryant Day” across the country if a California Republican has her way.
Rep. Michelle Steel this week introduced a resolution to name the date in August after the late Los Angeles Laker.
The 18-time NBA All-Star died in January of last year in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles that also killed his daughter Gianna and seven others. Bryant was 41.
Fans would be encouraged to give back to their communities on the day dedicated to the sports star.
“Kobe Bryant used his platform to inspire millions and help kids around the world achieve success and strive for greatness,” Steel said in a statement of her legislation, which also includes the names of all the victims of last year’s helicopter crash. “On Aug. 24 we should remember Kobe, celebrate his life and encourage the next generation to dream big just like Kobe did.”
Steel, who has described herself as a lifelong Lakers fan, selected the date as a nod to Bryant’s two NBA jersey numbers: 8 and 24.
Last year, Steel was behind a successful push to mark Aug. 24 as Kobe Bryant Day across Orange County in her home state.
Bryant’s death spurred a national debate about how public figures with complicated legacies should be remembered. The NBA champion and youth sports academy founder was accused in 2003 of sexually assaulting a Colorado hotel employee.
The charges were later dropped after the alleged victim declined to cooperate with prosecutors. She would eventually settle with Bryant outside of court, and in an apology, Bryant acknowledged that the woman did not consider their “encounter” to be consensual.
Asked about her response to lawmakers who might be reluctant to recognize Bryant due to the allegations, Steel told The Orange County Register, “The positive contributions to our community and to our world by Kobe Bryant deserve to be honored and celebrated.”
Updated at 10:32 a.m.
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