To Lakers faithful, Crypto.com Arena (formerly the Staples Center) will always be the building Shaq and Kobe built.
It’s only fitting Kobe Bryant should have a statue outside the arena. The long-planned statue will be unveiled on Feb. 8, 2024, the team announced.
“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,” Lakers co-owner and governor Jeanie Buss said in a statement. “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,” said Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka (who also was Kobe’s agent). “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.”
Kobe’s statue will join other former Lakers legends Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Shaquille O’Neal and broadcaster Chick Hearn outside Crypto.com arena.
Kobe played all 20 seasons of this Hall of Fame career with the Lakers and is arguably the greatest Laker ever (there are a few serious contenders for that crown). Kobe retired in 2016 and both his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys are retired. Kobe took part in the early planning stages for this statue before his tragic death in 2020.
The statue will be unveiled before a game against the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets on Feb. 8.
Source: Yahoo Sports