The NBA’s Los Angeles (LA) Lakers have unveiled a statue at their home arena honoring “legend” Kobe Bryant, who passed away in a tragic helicopter crash.
According to ESPN, the Lakers unveiled a bronze statue of Bryant, measuring approximately 5.8 meters in size and weighing approximately 1.8 tons, outside of their Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California.
The statue depicts Bryant walking off the court after scoring 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in January 2006, wearing a white No. 8 jersey, with the index finger of his right hand pointed skyward.
The words “Kobe Bryant” were engraved on the base of the statue, along with Bryant’s nickname, “Black Mamba.
The box score of the 81-point game was also engraved on the base of the statue, along with a QR code to access a highlight video of the game.
The statue also features Bryant’s quote, “Leave the NBA in better shape when you leave than when you arrived, and when it’s time to go, create your own legend.”
A “one-club man” who played for the Lakers for 20 years, starting with the 1996-1997 season, Bryant has become a “Lakers legend” both on and off the court, with many calling him the heir apparent to the “Emperor of Basketball,” Michael Jordan.
Bryant’s 33,643 career points ranks fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
However, in January 2020, he died suddenly along with his second daughter, Gianna, in a helicopter crash.
Along with Lakers legends and hundreds of fans, Bryant’s wife Vanessa, owner Jeanie Buss, NBA legend and Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and others attended the unveiling of the statue.
Vanessa introduced the statue as the first of three that will be built in his honor.
The second statue will feature Bryant wearing his other jersey number, No. 24, and the third will be modeled after Gianna.
“We are here to honor not only his tremendous accomplishments, but also the spirit of Bryant, who worked so hard to get to the top,” said Karim Abduljabbar.
Bryant is the sixth Lakers player to be honored with a statue in Crypto.com Arena’s Star Plaza, joining Shaquille O’Neal, Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor.