The five-time NBA champion is set to become the first athlete to have his hand and foot imprinted in a ceremony at the world-renowned Grauman's Chinese Theater on Feb. 19, it was announced Thursday. Bryant also is taking a turn at acting in a soon-to-be released short film directed by Robert Rodriguez in conjunction with Nike.
Bryant will join actors such as Marilyn Monroe, Brad Pitt, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith, Harrison Ford and John Wayne in receiving the cement distinction in front of the theater located on Hollywood Boulevard.
"To be a part of such elite company is a tremendous honor. I'm proud to be the first athlete to be recognized," Bryant said in a statement.
Before the Lakers practiced at the Pepsi Center on Thursday in preparation for Friday's game against the Denver Nuggets, Bryant added that the ceremony will be "cool" and he has yet to visit the theater as a tourist since moving to Los Angeles in 1996.
It will be a busy NBA All-Star weekend for Bryant, who leads all vote getters after the fourth round of ballot returns. Bryant will appear in the 13th All-Star Game of his 15-season career on Sunday, Feb. 20. The hand and foot imprint ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 19, preceding a gala hosted by Bryant that is expected to include more than 1,200 guests. The Rodriguez mini-movie (it's eight minutes long, according to Entertainment Weekly) will debut sometime during All-Star weekend as well.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.