The Los Angeles Lakers plan to honor the late Kobe Bryant with a statue outside their home arena, further recognizing the five-time NBA champion as one of the franchise’s all-time greats.
The bronze statue is set to be unveiled in Star Plaza outside Crypto.com Arena on Feb. 8, 2024 — a nod to Bryant’s jersey numbers of 8 and 24, the team announced Thursday.
Bryant will become the seventh Laker to receive a statue in the plaza, joining former teammate Shaquille O’Neal, as well as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Chick Hearn.
“As you know, Kobe played his entire 20-year NBA career as a Los Angeles Laker,” his widow, Vanessa Bryant, said in a video announcement. “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, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people killed in a January 2020 helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. Gianna was the second eldest of Bryant’s four daughters with Vanessa, whom he married in 2001.
The Lakers retired Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 in 2017, a year after he retired. The 18-time All-Star and 2008 NBA MVP was posthumously inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020.
A ceremony will take place Feb. 8 to unveil the statue, which was made by sculptor Julie Rotblatt Amrany.
“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,” said Jeanie Buss, the Lakers’ president and controlling owner. “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.”
Source: Yahoo Sports