HOLLYWOOD (CNS) – Kobe Bryant’s handprints and footprints were unveiled in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre today, 12 years after he became the first athlete to have his hands and feet imprinted in cement.
Los Angeles Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss and Byron Scott, who coached the Lakers for the final two seasons of Bryant’s 20-season NBA career, were among those in attendance at the ceremony, which also included the late Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, and their daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri.
“I’m honored to be here today to recognize the man we all knew and loved, my dad, Kobe Bryant,”” “Natalia Bryant said at the event. “It’s truly astounding to be standing here in front of the Chinese Theater in Hollywood forever displaying my dad’s hands and footprints. 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.
“… This day symbolizes the impact he has had on a city that he loved and cared for so deeply,” she said. “This also embraces the ‘Mamba Mentality’ and competitiveness at being the first-ever athlete to ever accomplish this. Now, as I’ve gotten older, I continue to see the impact that he had on those around him and the inspiration he has brought to so many –from professional athletes across the world who use the ‘Mamba Mentality’ to pursue their goals to fans from Laker Nation and anyone who loved watching him play.
“Dad, you are an icon, a legend, a storyteller and most importantly the best girl dad any young woman could ever dream of. I’m honored to be here to represent you and our family and we are extremely proud of you.”
The imprints have been kept in storage since Bryant laid his hands and feet in a block of wet cement on Feb. 19, 2011, a spokesman for the theater told City News Service. The ceremony was one day before Bryant scored a game-high 37 points and was selected as the MVP for the fourth and final time in the West’s 148-143 victory in the NBA All-Star Game at the then-Staples Center.
“This is a tremendous honor,” Bryant said during that ceremony, moved inside the theater because of rain.
“I feel extremely honored to be able to do this. It’s never something I actually thought about when I was watching movies. I never thought my hand and footprints would be sitting right here at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.”
Bryant told CBS2 having his handprints and footprints along with many of the legends of the movie industry is “right at the top” of his many accomplishments, including helping the Lakers to five NBA championships.
Bryant was especially struck by the everlasting nature of having his handprints and footprints in the forecourt.
“You come back in 100 years, it’s going to be there,” Bryant told CBS2. “It’s not going anywhere. It’s here forever. You are part of Los Angeles forever.”