Kobe Bryant immortalised with giant statue in LA

Staff Writers
The Nightly
2 Min Read
A statue of former Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has been unveiled outside Staples Center in Los Angeles. (AP PHOTO)
A statue of former Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has been unveiled outside Staples Center in Los Angeles. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

The Los Angeles Lakers have unveiled a statue of Kobe Bryant, honouring their late superstar with a bronze likeness outside their downtown arena.

The statue depicts Bryant in his white No.8 jersey with his right index finger raised as he walked off the court following his 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors in January 2006.

Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, said during the dedication ceremony that the statue is the first of three that will be created to honour the five-time NBA champion and top-scorer in Lakers history.

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Even before Bryant’s death, Lakers fans speculated about the pose or image that would be immortalised in his statue. While the announcement of three statues changes the argument, Vanessa Bryant said there shouldn’t be a debate at all: Kobe himself chose the pose for the first statue before his death.

“For the record, Kobe picked the pose you’re about to see,” she said.

“So if anyone has any issues with it, tough s**t.”

Vanessa Bryant, widow of the Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, speaks during the unveiling of a statue in honor of Kobe Bryant outside the NBA basketball team's arena Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)
Vanessa Bryant, widow of the Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, speaks during the unveiling of a statue in honor of Kobe Bryant outside the NBA basketball team's arena. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer) Credit: Eric Thayer/AP

Another statue will feature Bryant in his No.24 jersey, which he wore for the second half of his career, while a third will depict Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, who died with him and seven others in a helicopter crash in January 2020.

“This statue may look like Kobe, but really it’s what excellence looks like,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said.

“What discipline looks like. What commitment looks like ... It captures a person frozen in time, while at the same time acknowledges that the reason there is a statue in the first place is because that person is timeless.

“We’re all here today to honour a man who represents not just extraordinary sports achievement, but also timeless values that inspire us all to try harder to be not just better, but our best.”

Bryant is the sixth Lakers player and seventh team employee to be honoured with a statue outside Staples Center, joining Shaquille O’Neal, Abdul-Jabbar, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Lakers announcer Chick Hearn.

“He wasn’t just a champion,” former teammate Derek Fisher said.

“He was unmatched. A rare specimen that left opposing players in awe, teammates inspired. He didn’t just play the game. He defined it ... He set the standard. He broke records. The legacy he leaves behind are foundations upon which current players and future players build their dreams.”

Bryant retired in 2016 after a 20-year career spent entirely with the Lakers. He is the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history with 33,643 points, and his accolades included 18 NBA All-Star selections and two NBA Finals MVP awards.

FILE - In this July 26, 2018, photo, former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna watch the U.S. national championships swimming meet in Irvine, Calif. A federal jury has found that Los Angeles County must pay Bryant's widow $16 million over photos of the NBA star's body at the site of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed him. The jurors who returned the verdict Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022, agreed with Vanessa Bryant and her attorneys that her privacy was invaded when deputies and firefighters took and shared photos of the remains of Kobe Bryant and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna who died in a 2020 helicopter crash. Credit: Chris Carlson/AP

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