Plaza near Kobe Bryant’s childhood Italy home renamed to honor NBA legend and Gianna Bryant


Kobe Bryant spent a large amount of his childhood in Philadelphia, but the basketball legend also called the Italian town of Reggio Emilia home while his father, Joe Bryant, played for Cantine Riunite. One year after Kobe’s death, Reggio Emilia, in northern Italy, will dedicate the “Largo Kobe and Gianna Bryant” plaza to Bryant and his daughter.

“The city of Reggio Emilia and its citizens loved, first Joe, and then Kobe Bryant, the child who, once he returned to America, always remembered Reggio with love,” Emanuele Maccaferri, the vice president of the Sport Foundation of Reggio Emilia, told ESPN. “On this sad day we want to remember that happy child who left wonderful memories in so many people of Reggio Emilia.”

The plaza will be located in the center of town and will feature a plaque and a new Ginkgo biloba tree in honor of the Bryants. It’s a located near the basketball arena of Cantine Riunite. In addition to the plaza dedication, various parts of Reggio Emilia will be lit with the colors of the Los Angeles Lakers and there will be a streaming event titled “Reggiano Forever — Reggio Emilia remembers Kobe Bryant” on Tuesday.

“I know that it was just six or seven years that Kobe lived in Italy, but the Italian period was very, very important for what Kobe became,” Bryant’s childhood friend Christopher Ward told ESPN. “What he lived here, what he learned here, I think was very important for him in a sense of culture and approach to things … This was a sensibility that Kobe had that many others do not have.”

While the Lakers legend didn’t spend the bulk of his childhood in Italy, it was clearly still an important part of Bryant’s life and helped make him who he was. Just as many fans will do on Tuesday, Reggio Emilia will honor of the greatest players to ever play the game.

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