On a momentous day in Los Angeles, the Lakers paid tribute to their beloved icon, Kobe Bryant, by unveiling a magnificent statue at the heart of Star Plaza outside the Crypto.com Arena.
Capturing one of Bryant’s most legendary feats, the statue stands tall at 19 feet and weighs a staggering 4,000 pounds. Crafted by the talented Julie Rotblatt Amrany, it immortalizes Bryant’s career-high 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 22, 2006, a game etched forever in Lakers history.
Vanessa Bryant, speaking ahead of the unveiling, revealed that Kobe himself chose the iconic pose depicted in the statue, a poignant touch that adds a personal connection to the monument.
The statue features Bryant donning his jersey number 8, with his arm raised in triumph, surrounded by the five championship trophies symbolizing the Lakers’ triumphs during his tenure. A heartfelt detail requested by the Bryant family includes the names of all four Bryant daughters tattooed on the statue’s arm, serving as a reminder of his enduring legacy as a family man.
At the base of the statue, a triangle shape pays homage to the famed triangle offense of Tex Winter and Phil Jackson. Inscribed with Bryant’s nickname “Black Mamba” and adorned with his numerous accolades, including the memorable quote urging others to leave a legendary mark on the game, the base serves as a shrine to Bryant’s greatness.
The unveiling date, 2/8/24, holds special significance, honoring both of Bryant’s jersey numbers, 8 and 24, along with the number 2 worn by his daughter Gianna Bryant.
A multitude of fans, family, and guests gathered in downtown Los Angeles to witness the historic moment and celebrate Bryant’s enduring legacy. Hosted by esteemed Lakers broadcaster Stu Lantz, the ceremony featured heartfelt tributes from Vanessa Bryant, former Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, and Lakers Legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Derek Fisher.
The statue, serving as a permanent tribute to Bryant’s unparalleled legacy, invites fans from across the globe to reminisce about his remarkable basketball journey. A QR code on the base links fans to a tribute film directed by Antoine Fuqua, narrated by Denzel Washington, further commemorating Bryant’s extraordinary career achievements.
Bryant now joins an elite group of Lakers legends immortalized with statues, a testament to his everlasting impact on the game and the city of Los Angeles.
In addition to his on-court achievements, Bryant’s off-court contributions and values, encapsulated in his famous ‘Mamba Mentality,’ continue to inspire future generations.
The Lakers, in honor of this historic occasion, will don their Black Mamba uniforms co-designed by Bryant himself during his retirement. These jerseys, adorned with a snakeskin-like print and “LA 24” emblem, pay homage to Bryant’s indelible imprint on the franchise.
The painstaking process of creating the statue, involving extensive collaboration with the Lakers and the Bryant family, underscores the profound significance of this tribute. Vanessa Bryant also announced plans for two additional statues, including one featuring her daughter Gianna and another showcasing Bryant in his iconic number 24 jersey.
The event, broadcast live across Los Angeles and streamed worldwide, allowed fans to partake in the celebration of Bryant’s enduring legacy.
As President of Crypto.com Arena Lee Zeidman aptly remarked, Kobe Bryant’s unparalleled talent and unwavering determination truly illuminated the arena, forever changing the landscape of basketball.
While access to Star Plaza may be temporarily restricted due to event staging, fans eager to pay their respects can visit Chick Hearn Court starting Friday, Feb. 9, to view the statue.
In commemorating Kobe Bryant’s legacy, the Lakers not only celebrate an extraordinary athlete but also honor a man whose influence transcends the sport, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of millions worldwide.