Lakers to Honor Kobe Bryant With Statue in Downtown LA

Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant talking to reporters during exit interviews at the Lakers' basketball practice facility in El Segundo, Calif. (Credit: Shutterstock)

The Los Angeles Lakers will unveil a bronze statue honoring NBA great Kobe Bryant next year outside the Arena in downtown L.A.

The team announced details about the statue on Aug. 24 — what’s known as “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.

This week also marked what would have been Bryant’s 45th birthday.

His widow Vanessa Bryant shared news about the statue with fans in a video on social media.

“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.”

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The statue will be unveiled at the arena’s Star Plaza on Feb. 8, 2024.

“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 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.”

The statue is created by sculptor Julie Rotblatt Amrany of the Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt Amrany in Highwood, Illinois.

A native of Philadelphia, Bryant joined the Lakers in 1996.

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

Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Jan. 26, 2020.

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 scored a career-high and franchise-best 81 points at a home game on Jan. 22, 2006.

The 18-time NBA All-Star retired from basketball in 2016.

The Lakers retired Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys in 2017.