Kobe Bryant Celebrated With Statue Outside Crypto.com Arena

Kobe Bryant statue unveiled outside Crypto.com Arena on Feb. 8, 2024. (Credit: YouTube/@NBA)

With NBA greats and admirers in the audience, the Los Angeles Lakers unveiled a bronze statue on Thursday honoring Kobe Bryant.

The statue at Crypto.com Arena depicts the Lakers legend wearing his No. 8 jersey and pointing to the sky.

Other details include the names of Bryant’s daughters tattooed on his arm, his five championship trophies, and a QR code that fans can scan to watch highlights of him playing.

Those attending the ceremony in downtown L.A. included team owner Jeanie Buss, Bryant’s former coach Phil Jackson, his former teammate Derek Fisher, Lakers legends Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

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Bryant’s widow Vanessa Bryant told the audience Kobe helped design the statue years ago, before he was killed in a helicopter crash in 2020, that also claimed the life of the couple’s daughter Gianna and seven others.

“For the record, Kobe picked the pose you’re about to see,” Vanessa said. “It goes without saying that today’s an especially sad day for us, since Kobe and Gigi aren’t here for what is supposed to be an incredibly joyous moment in Kobe’s legacy.”

She added that there will be more monuments to Kobe outside the arena.

“Because fans all over the world and the City of Angels loved Kobe so much, he will have three statues in front of the arena, also known as the House that Kobe Built — one wearing the number 8, one with our beautiful daughter Gianna, and one wearing the number 24,” Vanessa Bryant said.

Jeanie Buss also spoke at the ceremony.

“I think of Kobe constantly,” Buss said. “I miss him and Gigi more than words can say. But today I am 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.”

Plans for a Kobe Bryant statue were announced last year on Aug. 24 — what’s called “Mamba Day” in Southern California — celebrating the late Lakers star and the No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys he wore during his career with the team.

Known for his “Mamba Mentality,” Kobe helped guide the Lakers to five NBA Championships (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010). The Hall-of-Famer and two-time Olympic gold medalist retired in 2016, and the Lakers retired his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys in 2017.

Other Lakers greats commemorated with statues outside the arena include Elgin Baylor, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, and announcer Chick Hearn.