Lakers Reveal Date and Location of Kobe Bryant Statue (Watch Vanessa Bryant’s Announcement)

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File

The Los Angeles Lakers will pay tribute to their late legend Kobe Bryant with a statue outside their home arena on Feb. 8, 2024, his widow Vanessa Bryant announced on Thursday.

In a video posted by the Lakers on their social media accounts, Vanessa Bryant revealed the date and location of the statue unveiling, which coincides with the jersey numbers that Kobe Bryant wore during his 20-year career with the franchise .

“As you know, Kobe played his entire 20-year NBA career as a Los Angeles Laker,” Vanessa Bryant said. “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 a statue so that his legacy can be celebrated forever.”

Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna and seven others on Jan. 26, 2020, is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and one of the most beloved figures in Los Angeles sports history. He led the Lakers to five NBA championships, two Finals MVP awards, one regular-season MVP award, 18 All-Star selections, four All-Star MVP awards, 15 All-NBA selections, 12 All-Defensive selections, and two scoring titles. He also holds several franchise records, including most points (33,643), most games played (1,346), most field goals made (11,719), most free throws made (8,378), most steals (1,944), and most three-pointers made (1,827).

He also scored 81 points in a single game against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 22, 2006, which is the second-highest scoring performance in NBA history behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points. He also scored 60 points in his final game against the Utah Jazz on April 13, 2016, capping off an unforgettable farewell tour.

The Lakers retired both of his jersey numbers, No. 8 and No. 24, on Dec. 18, 2017, making him the first player in NBA history to have two numbers retired by the same team. He was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in May 2020 as part of a star-studded class that included Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.

The statue of Kobe Bryant will join other Lakers icons who have been immortalized outside Arena (formerly Staples Center), such as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal, Elgin Baylor and Chick Hearn. The statue will also be located near a mural of Kobe and Gianna Bryant that was painted by artist Jonas Never shortly after their tragic deaths .

The date of Feb. 8 was chosen not only because it represents Kobe Bryant’s two jersey numbers, but also because it is close to his birthday (Aug. 23) and the anniversary of his death (Jan. 26). The Lakers have previously honored him on those dates by wearing special jerseys designed by Vanessa Bryant that feature a black mamba snake pattern and a heart-shaped patch with the number “2” for Gianna .

The statue unveiling will be a special occasion for the Lakers fans and the entire basketball community, who have been mourning the loss of Kobe Bryant for more than two years. It will be an opportunity to celebrate his life and legacy and to thank him for his contributions to the game and the city.

The Lakers will host the defending champion Denver Nuggets on Feb. 8. Further details regarding the ceremony will be announced at a later date.

As Vanessa Bryant said in her video message: “We love you Kobe.”

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