The late Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant will be honoured with a bronze monument outside the team’s arena in February, the NBA franchise said on Thursday, along with his wife Vanessa.
The monument to the five-time NBA champion, who died at the age of 41 in a helicopter crash in January 2020 that also killed his daughter Gianna and seven others, will be revealed on Feb. 8 before the Lakers’ home game against the Denver Nuggets.
“As you know, Kobe played his entire 20-year NBA career as a Los Angeles Laker,” Vanessa explained in a video posted to the team’s social media platforms. “Since moving to Los Angeles and joining the Lakers organization, he has felt at home playing in the City of Angels.”
“On behalf of the Lakers, my daughters, and myself, I am so honoured that we will unveil his statue right in the heart of Los Angeles, in front of the place known as ‘The House that Kobe Built,’ so that his legacy can be celebrated forever.”
According to the Lakers, Bryant was involved in the original development of the upcoming statue, which will be the first in a succession of tangible tributes to honour his legacy.
Bryant will join Elgin Baylor, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jerry West, and Chick Hearn as the sixth Laker to be honoured with a monument.
Bryant was an 18-time All-Star who led the NBA in scoring in four seasons while also making the All-Defensive First Team nine times, making him one of the finest two-way players in history.
“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,”owner Jeanie Buss said.
“There is no better place for Kobe to be honoured with a statue than here, in the centre of our city, where everyone can celebrate him and be inspired by his incredible achievements.”