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Attendees view a statue of former Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant after its unveiling outside the NBA basketball team's arena, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)
BOTWC Staff
Published: 14 February 2024

He’ll be remembered in history forever!

This week, the Los Angeles Lakers unveiled a new statue of Kobe Bryant outside the Crypto.com arena, NBA.com reports. The 19-foot, 4,000-pound bronze statue depicts Bryant in a white No.8 jersey with his right index finger raised to the sky, a pose Bryant made after his outstanding 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. 

His widow, Vanessa Bryant, spoke at the unveiling ceremony, saying this was the first of three statues set to be erected in honor of her late husband. Vanessa also revealed that Bryant actually chose this pose for his statue before his untimely death in a helicopter crash alongside his daughter Gianna and seven others in January 2020

“Kobe has so many people that have supported him all over the world from the very beginning, and this moment isn’t just for Kobe, but it’s for all of you that have been rooting for him all of these years. To the fans here in LA, this is a special city Kobe was so proud to represent. You welcomed him with open arms and have been so important to him, our family, and his legacy. It brings me joy to see how much love you have for all of us. We love you back,” said Vanessa.

Bryant retired in 2016 after a two-decade career with the Lakers. The ceremony was attended by Lakers legends, former teammate Derek Fisher, longtime Lakers coach Phil Jackson, and hundreds of fans, all ready to pay tribute to the icon. 

“This statue may look like Kobe, but really, it’s what excellence looks like. What discipline looks like. What commitment looks like…It captures a person frozen in time, while at the same time acknowledges that the reason there is a statue in the first place is because that person is timeless,” NBA icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told attendees. 

 “I think of Kobe constantly, and I miss him and Gigi more than words can say. But today, I’m filled with joy because, in the future, I know fans will gather here in the shade of this statue beside this building where Kobe gave us so many memories, and we will share what he meant to us. As we do so, we will motivate a new generation to emulate the Mamba Mentality,” added team owner Jeanie Buss. 

The statue is engraved with his nickname, “Black Mamba,” directly under his name “Kobe Bean Bryant.” The triangle platform pays tribute to the Lakers’ famed triangle offense during the 2000s, with the base featuring the box score from his 81-point game and a QR code where fans can watch highlights of the performance. Included is also a quote from Bryant himself. 

“Leave the game better than you found it. And when it comes time for you to leave, leave a legend,” the inscription reads. 

Bryant is the sixth Lakers player and seventh team employee to be honored with a statue in Star Plaza alongside Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, and Elgin Baylor. Bryant left the game as the top scorer in Lakers history with a record of 33,643 points, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two NBA Finals MVP awards. The five-time NBA champion will also have two other statues erected in his honor, one featuring Bryant in his No.24 jersey and a third featuring Bryant and his late daughter Gianna.

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