Vanessa Bryant, the widow of late Los Angeles Lakers legend and Basketball Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, has responded to the news of the Staples Center's upcoming name change.
BallIsLife.com's verified Twitter account shared a screengrab of Vanessa's Instagram story, which included a shared post from the account @Kobemural of a banner of her late husband hanging on the exterior of the iconic arena, as well as a crown emoji and the caption, "Forever known as 'The House That Kobe Built.'"
Kobe Bryant spent his entire 20-year NBA career with the Lakers, retiring as the franchise's all-time leading scorer and winning six NBA championships, all of which came during the franchise's time at Staples Center, having moved from Inglewood during Bryant's fourth season.
Bryant is one of 10 Lakers legends whose numbers are in the rafters at Staples Center, having both his No. 8 and No. 24 numbers retired.
The six-time NBA champion and his daughter, Gianna, were among three notable funerals held at the arena, which also included fellow Los Angeles icons Michael Jackson in 2009 and Nipsey Hussle in 2019.
On Tuesday night, The Athletic's Shams Charania initially reported Staples Center will be renamed to Crypto.com Arena on December 25 following what is "believed to be the largest U.S. venue naming rights deal to date."
The Los Angeles Times confirmed Charania's report minutes later in an article featuring a rendering of the arena with its new logo, adding that "all of Staples Center signage will be replaced with the new name by June 2022."
The renaming deal is part of a 20-year agreement between the Singapore cryptocurrency exchange -- which reportedly paid more than $700 million for the naming rights, according to sources familiar with the terms -- and AEG, the owner and operator of the arena, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"In the next few years, people will look back at this moment as the moment when crypto crossed the chasm into the mainstream," said Kris Marszalek,Crytpo.com's chief executive, from his home in Hong Kong via the Los Angeles Times. "This is just such a brilliant move from the guys at AEG because the next decade belongs to crypto. And this positions L.A. and this particular venue right at the center of it."
Staples Center also confirmed the name change in a news release shared on its official website shortly after both Charania and the Los Angeles Times' reports.
Staples Center has been the home of the Lakers, Kings, and Clippers since 1999, with the Sparks moving in in 2001, four years after their inaugural season.
The arena has been the home of 11 world championship teams during its 21 years of operation, including six of the Lakers' record 17 NBA championships (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2020), all three of the Sparks' WNBA championships (2001, 2002, 2016) and both of the Kings' Stanley Cup championships (2011-12, 2013-14).
Staples Center has also served as the home of the GRAMMY Awards a record 19 times from 2000-02; 2004-2017; 2019-2020; and will host the event under its new name in 2022.