The Los Angeles Lakers will honor Kobe Bryant with a bronze statue in front of Crypto Arena. The announcement was made by the widow of the former player, Vanessa Bryant. Thus, the franchise will immortalize one of its greatest idols. That is, Kobe will forever be a Laker.
In addition, the monument will be inaugurated on February 8, 2024, before the duel against the Denver Nuggets, defending champions of the NBA. The date, incidentally, carries a symbolism. After all, it is an allusion to the numbers used by Kobe in his career.
It is worth remembering that Bryant had jerseys 8 and 24 retired by the franchise in 2017. With that, he became the first athlete in NBA history to have two jerseys retired by the same team.
“Hey guys. As you know, Kobe played for the Lakers his entire career. Ever since he arrived in town, and joined the Lakers, he’s felt right at home. So he was playing in City of Angels. On behalf of the Lakers, my daughters and myself, I am so honored to announce that, right in downtown Los Angeles, in front of what is known as “The House That Kobe Built”, we are unveiling a statue of him. Therefore, his legacy can be celebrated forever”, said Vanessa, in a video for fans published at 8:24 am on Thursday (24).
According to the franchise, this will be the first in a series of physical tributes to the idol. Additionally, Kobe Bryant will become the seventh Lakers idol to have a statue in front of the arena. The other honorees are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Elgin Baylor, Chick Hearn and Shaquille O’Neal.
“Kobe Bryant was one of the most extraordinary athletes of all time. Furthermore, he was one of the most iconic individuals in Los Angeles history. So there’s no better place for Kobe to be honored with a statue than here, in the center of our city. Meaning everyone will be able to celebrate him and be inspired by his incredible achievements,” said Jeanie Buss, owner of the Los Angeles Lakers.
On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant died at age 41 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. One of the star’s daughters, Gianna Maria, 13, was also on board and died in the accident. Incidentally, the nine occupants of the aircraft died on the spot.
Five-time NBA champion with the Lakers, Kobe retired in 2016. In fact, he was the first athlete in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons for a single franchise. As a result, he was a two-time Finals MVP, won the 2007/08 MVP and added 18 appearances in the All-Star Game.
Kobe scored 33,643 career points and became the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer. In addition, he is the fourth-highest scorer in NBA history. Naturally, the idol entered the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The ace is also the owner of two Olympic gold medals with the US national team (2008 and 2012). He even starred in two of the most iconic performances of the modern NBA era. In the first, he scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. It was the second highest individual score in a game in league history. In addition, Kobe scored 60 points in his farewell game against the Utah Jazz.
Kobe extended his status as a legend of the sport in 2018. At the time, he won the Oscar for best animated short film as a screenwriter and one of the producers of the film “Dear Basketball”. The drawing was a hand-drawn illustration based on his farewell letter from the courts. In other words, a simple declaration of love for basketball.
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