The Los Angeles Lakers plan to set a statue of future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant in front of the arena where he played for most of his professional basketball career.
The proposal to honor Bryant, who was the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history and a cherished stalwart of the franchise for 20 seasons, with a statue that will be unveiled on February 8, 2024, at Crypto.com Arena was announced by the team on Thursday. Bryant will be the subject of the ceremony.
The news was shared on August 24, also known as “Kobe Day,” because the eighth month and the twenty-fourth day correspond to the numbers that Bryant wore with the Lakers on his jersey (Nos. 8, 24).
Vanessa Bryant, Bryant’s wife, announced that the monument will be unveiled at Star Plaza outside the stadium before the Lakers’ game against the Denver Nuggets that evening. The Staples Center, which has served as the home of the Los Angeles Lakers since 1999, has erected a statue in his honor, making him the eighth member of the team’s staff and the sixth former player to be so honored.
In a video message to fans that was broadcast at 8:24 this morning, Vanessa Bryant stated, “As you know, Kobe played his entire 20-year NBA career as a Los Angeles Laker,” “Ever since moving to this city and becoming a member of the Lakers organization, he has had the distinct impression that he is right at home here in the City of Angels.” On behalf of the Lakers, my children, and I, I am extremely honored that we are going to unveil his statue right in the middle of Los Angeles, right in front of the place that is known as the house that Kobe built, so that his legacy can be commemorated forever.
In January 2020, Bryant and his daughter Gianna were killed when their chopper crashed.
The presentation date, February 8 at 24:08, stands out for several reasons: Kobe wore the number 8 throughout the first half of his Lakers career, and Gianna wore the number 2 when she was younger and playing basketball. When thick fog caused their helicopter to lose control in Calabasas, California, the Bryant family and seven other people were aboard. They were on their way to compete in a basketball game.
According to the organization, Kobe Bryant took part in the preliminary planning stages of the projected statue that will one day be in Star Plaza when he retired from the NBA. To honor his legacy, this is the first of a series of physical memorials that will be created.
Elgin Baylor, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, and Chick Hearn are other former Lakers with statues outside the arena. Bryant will now join that group. In addition, figures of boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya and members of the Los Angeles Kings, including Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille, Dustin Brown, and commentator Bob Miller, can be found in Star Plaza.
The well-known sculptor Julie Rotblatt Amrany of the Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt Amrany was responsible for creating the monument.
On Thursday, Jeanie Buss, the governor of the Los Angeles Lakers, said that 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.” “There is no better place for Kobe to be honored with a statue than here, in the center of our city, where everyone can celebrate him and be inspired by his incredible achievements.”
The ceremony that will take place on February 8 will take place outside of the arena. In the following months, specifics will be made available.
“Kobe’s transcendent spirit is always and forever in our hearts — inspiring us every day,” Rob Pelinka, the Los Angeles Lakers general manager, said in a statement on Thursday. And today, with the unveiling of this big and gorgeous statue, he will also have a corporeal presence. A meeting spot on the sacred land that Kobe carved out, where all of us can assemble and pay our respects to a powerful and remarkable man.
Bryant retired as the only player in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons with a single organization. He was also a member of the NBA All-Star Game 18 times. Because of his “Mamba Mentality,” he was able to assist the Lakers in winning five NBA championships (in the years 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, and 2010), and he was named Finals MVP twice (in 2009 and 2010). Bryant was selected to the All-NBA Team 15 times, including 11 First Team selections, and was named to 12 All-Defensive Teams throughout his career, including nine selections to the All-Defensive First Team. In 2008, he was voted the Most Valuable Player in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame and two-time Olympic gold medalist is currently the Lakers’ all-time leader in regular season games played (1,346), points (33,643), 3-pointers made (1,827), steals (1,944), and free throws made (8,378) He also holds the franchise playoff records for games played (220), points (5,640), 3-pointers made (292) and free throws made (1,320).
In a game against the Toronto Raptors on January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant scored 81 points, a career-high and a franchise record at the time. Bryant is a two-time scoring champion. On December 18, 2017, the Los Angeles Lakers retired Kobe Bryant’s jerseys No. 8 and No. 24.