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Los Angeles Lakers to unveil Kobe Bryant statue outside their arena

The date of the statue's unveiling, Feb. 8, 2024, pays homage to the numbers the late basketball star and his daughter wore on their respective basketball jerseys.
Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant at Staples Center in Los Angeles as both his No. 8 and No. 24 Los Angeles Lakers jerseys are retired on Dec. 18, 2017.Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images file
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers announced Thursday they will unveil a Kobe Bryant statue in February honoring him and placing him among other franchise greats who have been immortalized with sculptures.

Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, said in a video the Lakers posted on social media that a statue of Bryant’s likeness will be built at Arena, a sports venue known as “the House That Kobe Built,” she said.

Bryant, who won five championships with the Lakers, was killed, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, in a January 2020 helicopter crash. He was 41.

“Since arriving in the city and joining the Lakers’ organization, he felt at home here, playing in the ‘City of Angels,’” she said in the video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “I’m so honored that right in the center of Los Angeles, in front of the place known as, ‘The House that Kobe Built,’ we are going to unveil a statue so that his legacy can be celebrated forever.”

The Lakers said in another post that the statue will be unveiled Feb. 8, 2024. The date honors the two jersey numbers he wore for the franchise, 8 and 24. It also is a tribute to Gianna, who wore No. 2 when she played youth basketball.

Bryant will join other elite Lakers players who have had statues built in their honor, including Shaquille O’Neal, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

In another post from the Lakers, team owner Jeanie Buss said: “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, at the center of our city, where everyone can celebrate him and be inspired by his incredible achievements.”

Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka said in a statement: “Kobe’s transcendent spirit is always and forever in our hearts — inspiring us every day. And now, with the unveiling of this powerful and beautiful statue, he will have a physical presence, too. A place on the hallowed ground Kobe created, where we can all gather and pay honor to a mighty and great man.”