The Lakers unveil the Kobe Bryant statue at Arena

The event date of 2/8/24 corresponds to the jersey numbers of Kobe and his daughter Gianna.
The Lakers erected a statue of Kobe Bryant on Thursday at Arena, paying emotional tribute to one of the city’s most revered sports personalities.

The statue revealed at the occasion featured Bryant sporting the number 8 on his uniform.

However, his widow Vanessa Bryant said that there will be three sculptures, one with him wearing No. 24 and one with Gianna, his daughter who died in the same helicopter crash that killed Kobe in 2020. The others were not displayed at the ceremony.

“Because fans all over the world and the City of Angels loved Kobe so much, he will have three statues in front of the arena – also known as the house that Kobe built,” Vanessa went on to say.

Vanessa stated that Bryant helped design the statue.

“For the record, Kobe picked the pose you’re about to see,” she went on to say. “So if someone has a problem with it, tough (crap). “It is what it is.”

The statue features the names of Kobe’s daughters tattooed on his arm, his five championship trophies, and a QR code that fans may scan to view Kobe highlights. The statue’s base is triangular, a tribute to Jackson and Tex Winter’s triangle offence.

The monument will be accessible for public sight at Arena beginning Friday morning.

Other speakers at the ceremony included team owner Jeanie Buss, Kobe’s former teammate Derek Fisher, club legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and former coach Phil Jackson.

Former Laker greats Magic Johnson, Pau Gasol, and Robert Horry were in attendance, as was NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Former Lakers player and executive Jerry West was also in attendance, having played a significant part in scouting Kobe in high school and encouraging the organisation to trade for him.

A five-carat diamond.
Jeanie Buss recalled her father Jerry’s enthusiasm and love for Kobe, which began with his decision to trade for him immediately after he was picked by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996.

“Trading for Kobe in 1996 set this franchise and this city on a journey that was beyond our wildest dreams,” she went on to say.

Jerry Buss later turned down tempting offers from other clubs to trade for Kobe, including one that offered five players.

It was told by her father “that Kobe was as rare as a flawless five-carat diamond and five one-carat diamonds would never equal the same value.”

“I constantly think of Kobe,” she added. “I miss him and Gigi more than words could express. But today I am overjoyed because I know that in the future, fans will congregate here in the shade of this statue beside this building, where Kobe gave us so many memories, to share what he meant to us.”

During a meeting with Kobe Bryant, MJ Jackson, who coached the Lakers to five championships, shared stories about his extreme competitive nature and rivalry with Michael Jordan.

At one point, Jackson recalls trying to educate Kobe to transfer the ball to his teammates rather than taking over a game on his own.

“I arranged a meeting between Michael and Kobe, to give him a little impression of how to handle being in a restricted basketball system that relied on passing the ball to available teammates and wanting to go one on one with his guy in front of you,” Jackson said ESPN.

“So we had a little meeting in the cigar room off the bar downstairs and Michael and I were sitting there and Kobe walked in after his shower and the press.”

“He sat down and he said ‘Michael, I can take you one on one.”

“Michael said, ‘Well, I think you might. I’m 37.” “You’re 22, right?”

Prior to the Kobe statues,’s Star Plaza featured eleven additional monuments.

The timing of the incident was significant for the numerology. Thursday, February 8, 2024 — 2/8/24 — is a calendar date that combines not just both of Bryant’s numbers, but also the No. 2 that his late daughter Gianna, who died in the crash, wore as a young basketball star.

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