LOS ANGELES—On February 8, a 19-foot, 4,000-pound bronze statue of Bryant was unveiled outside of Crypto.com Arena following a heartfelt ceremony. The larger-than-life statue shows Bryant wearing his No. 8 Lakers jersey and pointing toward the sky.
This is the first of three Bryant statues to be displayed at Crypto.com, the date was not chosen at random. The number two for Gianna, Kobes’s daughter, and eight and 24 represent the two iconic numbers Bryant wore for the Purple and Gold for twenty seasons.
During Thursday’s ceremony, Vanessa confirmed that the Lakers great selected the pose for his statue. “For the record, Kobe picked the pose you’re about to see,” she said.
Vanessa also expressed gratitude for the countless number of fans who supported her husband, saying, “This moment isn’t just for Kobe, but it’s for all of you that have been rooting for him all of these years.”
Bryant’s statue joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Elgin Baylor, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jerry West and team announcer Chick Hearn outside the Lakers’ downtown arena.
“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.”
Bryant won five NBA championships during his storied career and retired in 2016. He spent his 20-year career with the Lakers. He was a two-time Finals MVP and was named the league MVP in 2008. He was an 18-time All-Star and ended his career with 33,643 points.
The Lakers wore the “Black Mamba” uniforms during Thursday’s game against the Denver Nuggets. The jerseys were co-designed by Bryant and paid tribute to his on-court nickname.