Kobe Bryant will be immortalized with a statue outside of Crypto.com Arena. On Thursday (Aug. 24), Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife, announced the plans for a statue on Instagram. In the brief clip, Vanessa sits before Bryant’s No. 8 and 24 jerseys, revealing the commemoration. She disclosed that the unveiling ceremony will occur on Feb. 8, 2024, at Star Plaza outside Crypto.com Arena.
“As you know, Kobe played his entire 20-year NBA career as a Los Angeles Laker,” she 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.”
After Kobe Bryant retired, he began to plan the statue’s development with the Lakers. Celebrated sculptor Julie Rotblatt Amrany created the NBA icon’s statue, working closely with his family. Once unveiled, Bryant will become the seventh Laker commemorated with a sculpture, joining his teammate Shaquille O’Neal, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chick Hearn, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and Jerry West.
In an official press release, Jeanie Buss, Los Angeles Lakers Governor, spoke about the upcoming “Black Mamba” statue. Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager, also shared his love for Bryant’s “transcendent spirit” on and off the court.
“Kobe Bryant was one of the most extraordinary athletes of all time, and one of the most iconic individuals in the history of Los Angeles,” Buss expressed. “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.”
“Kobe’s transcendent spirit is always and forever in our hearts – inspiring us every day,” Pelinka said. “And now, with the unveiling of this powerful and beautiful statue, he will have a physical presence, too. A place on the hallowed ground Kobe created, where we can all gather and pay honor to a mighty and great man.”
During his time in the NBA, Kobe “Bean” Bryant became an 18-time NBA All-Star. When he retired in 2016, he became the first player in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons with a single franchise.
The “Black Mamba” guided the Lakers to five NBA Championships in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, and 2010. And during the sport’s biggest game, he earned Finals MVP honors twice in 2009 and 2010.
“The Hall-of-Famer and two-time Olympic gold medalist stands as the purple and gold’s all-time leader in regular-season games played (1,346), points (33,643), 3-pointers made (1,827), steals (1,944) and free throws made (8,378), while owning franchise playoff records for games played (220), points (5,640), 3-pointers made (292) and free throws made (1,320),” the press release reads. “A two-time scoring champion, Bryant scored a career-high and franchise-best 81 points on Jan. 22, 2006, at home versus Toronto.”
The Los Angeles Lakers retired Kobe’s No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys on Dec. 18, 2017.
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