The five-time NBA champion and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
A five-and-a-half-foot-tall bronze statue of Kobe Bryant has been erected outside the Los Angeles Lakers arena, honoring the basketball team’s late superstar player.
The 6,000-pound statue depicts Bryant in his white No. 8 jersey with his right index finger raised, a depiction of his famous walk off the court following his 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors in January 2006.
The statue is the first of three that will be created to honor the five-time NBA champion and leading scorer in Lakers history.
Another statue will depict Bryant in the No. 24 jersey, which he wore for the second half of his career, and a third will depict Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who died with him and seven others in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
“This statue may look like Kobe, but in reality it is excellence. What does discipline look like. What commitment looks like,” said former teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. “It captures a person frozen in time, and at the same time recognizes that the main reason a statue exists is because that person is timeless .
“We are all here today to honor a man who represents not only extraordinary sporting achievements, but also timeless values that inspire all of us to strive harder to not only be better, but to be our best,” he added.
The statue was unveiled during a ceremony attended by dozens of Lakers greats and hundreds of season ticket holders.
“I think about Kobe constantly and miss him and Gigi more than words can say,” team owner Jeanie Buss said.
“But today I am filled with joy because, in the future, I know that fans will gather here in the shadow of this statue next to this building where Kobe gave us so many memories, and we will share what he meant to us.”
Bryant retired in 2016 after a 20-year career spent entirely with the Lakers. He is the fourth leading scorer in NBA history with 33,643 points, and his accolades include 18 NBA All-Star selections and two NBA Finals MVP awards.