Vanessa Bryant, the late Kobe Bryant’s wife, announced the date on Thursday when the Los Angeles Lakers will unveil a statue honoring the former NBA superstar.
Bryant revealed that the team with which her husband played his entire career will first display the statue on February 8, 2024 – significant as the five-time champion wore jersey numbers 8 and 24.
“As you know, Kobe played his entire 20-year NBA career as a Los Angeles Laker,” Bryant said while sitting in front of the now iconic jersey numbers in a video posted at 8:24 a.m. on Thursday morning.
“Since arriving in this city and joining the Lakers organization, he felt at home here, playing in the City of Angels.
On behalf of the Lakers, my daughters and me, I am 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 his statue so that his legacy can be celebrated forever.”
The Lakers said the bronze statue will be set at Star Plaza outside of Crypto.com Arena ahead of that night’s home game.
According to the team, Kobe took part in “initial planning of the anticipated statue” before his untimely death on January 26, 2020.
Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria Onore Bryant, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
The Lakers also said the statue “is the first in a series of physical tributes to honor his legacy.”
“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,” Jeanie Buss, Los Angeles Lakers Governor, said.
“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.”
Bryant will be the seventh Lakers icon to be honored with a statue, joining Elgin Baylor, Chick Hearn, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Jerry West.
Bryant was an 18-time NBA All-Star over his legendary career during which he won five NBA titles.
Known for his ‘Mamba Mentality,’ he is the Lakers’ all-time leader in regular season games played, points, three-pointers made, steals and free throws made, while owning franchise playoff records for games played, points, three-pointers made and free throws made.