On Friday, the Kobe Bryant farewell tour stops in Atlanta, and the Atlanta Hawks announced on Thursday that they had teamed with Zoo Atlanta to name a Black Mamba snake "Kobe" in honor of the superstar's final visit to the Gate City.
Bryant's farewell tour went official on Sunday, and the superstar had already made stops in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. With Philadelphia being the city of his birth and where he attended high school, the Philadelphia 76ers and their fans combined to put on a tremendous show of respect that included a standing ovation, a video ode to Bryant celebrating him as a native of the City of Brother Love, and a jersey ceremony involving Julius "Dr. J" Erving and Bryant's high school coach.
That was night no. 1.
On night no.2, Bryant met with President Barack Obama at the White House. Then, he played in a game that required him scoring 31 points and hitting two go-ahead baskets in the final minute. The Washington Wizard put together a brief announcement that led to a standing ovation following a timeout, but the in-arena presentation did not compare to Philadelphia one night before. Bryant's play on the court and sitting with the President of the United States, however, made for a decent second day on the farewell tour.
Kobe spent about 5-10 mins with President Obama at the White House today: "We talked a lot about the game...the future and what comes next." — Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) December 3, 2015
On day no. 3, Bryant had a day off to rest and recover, though these days are hardly off days. The 37-year-old notoriously spends every possibly minute receiving treatment in order to perform for games. With Bryant wanting to play every possible game, his off days carry the same meaning as his game days.
Night no. 4 of the Kobe Bryant farewell tour will be against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.
The Hawks naming a Black Mamba after Bryant is a welcome, unusual gift, and it helps open the door for other teams to come up with creative, odd, yet entertaining surprises. While gifts promise to surprise throughout the season, one gift that should no longer even raise an eyebrow is the all-around gratitude and love Bryant receives nightly from traveling fans—be they fans of the Lakers, fans of other teams, players on other teams or coaches on other teams.
Atlanta, more than most cities, tends to pack the stands with purple and gold jerseys. On Bryant's farewell tour, chants of "MVP" and "Kobe" for the "Black Mamba" should surprise absolutely no one on Friday night.