A statue honoring Lakers legend Kobe Bryant will be unveiled on Feb. 8, 2024, at Crypto.com Arena, the franchise announced on Thursday. The 17-time NBA champions will honor the fourth-leading scorer in Association history and a beloved hero of the franchise for 20 seasons. Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
After the statement, the Lakers released a video to fans, with Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, discussing the upcoming event.
“As you know, Kobe played his entire 20-year NBA career as a Los Angeles Laker,” Vanessa Bryant said. “Since arriving in this city and joining the Lakers organization, he felt at home here, playing in the City of Angels. On behalf of the Lakers, my daughters, and me… I am so honored that, right in the center of Los Angeles, in front of the place known as the house that Kobe built, we are going to unveil his statue so that his legacy can be celebrated forever.”
Bryant is the sixth former Lakers player and seventh team employee to be honored with a statue in the club’s Star Plaza outside the arena.
Kobe’s legacy immortalized.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 24, 2023
Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss added that Bryant is “one of the most iconic individuals in the history of Los Angeles.”
“There is no better place for Kobe to be honored with a statue than here, at the center of our city, where everyone can celebrate him and be inspired by his incredible achievements,” she said.
Sculptor Julie Rotblatt Amrany, who created the statue of Michael Jordan in a pose like his trademark Jumpman logo, has also been charged to create Bryant’s signature sculpture.
Kobe Bryant is considered one of the greatest players in NBA history, often drawing comparisons to Michael Jordan throughout his career. He came into prominence almost immediately after being drafted out of Lower Merion High School in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft. Originally chosen by Charlotte, the high schooler immediately bristled a few veterans when he flat-out refused to play anywhere but New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.
It would eventually be the Lakers who secured Bryant’s right in exchange for veteran center Vlade Divac. and the rest, as they say, is history. Teaming with free agent addition Shaquille O’Neal, the two young stars would form the nucleus of a dynasty.
They captured three NBA titles together before the band eventually broke up. After plenty of infighting, Bryant was off to Miami, and ‘Showtime’ officially became Bryant’s show.
Nicknamed ‘The Black Mamba’, Kobe Bryant focused on becoming an advocate and entrepreneur upon his retirement. He was balancing endorsements, endeavors, and humanitarian work when his life came to a tragic and untimely conclusion.
On the morning of January 26, 2020, a helicopter with nine people on board – including Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna- crashed into the side of a mountain in Calabasas, California, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Bryant, his daughter, and the other seven occupants were all killed on impact.