We already know what Kobe Bryant means to the City of Angels. His five championships still shine brightly and heavily impactful, although his entire career is but a serious footnote in the annals of Lakers history, where so many of the NBA’s all-time greats put it down for the West Coast.
Fittingly, the Los Angeles Lakers will unveil a bronze statue of Bryant on Feb. 8 in front of the arena that he played nearly his entire legendary career.
LeBron James took on the task of following in Kobe’s L.A. footsteps. After successful title runs with Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavs, Bron came to Tinseltown to carve out his own legacy for the first time as an iconic player whose accolades could never rise above the strength of the franchise brand.
LeBron James Talks Kobe Statue Unveiling
Before Bron became a favorite in L.A., he and Kobe had many battles over the years as Bryant was reluctantly passing the baton as elite player in the NBA to a young LeBron James.
LeBron recently spoke about Kobe’s statue tribute and reminisced on the days when Black Mamba ruled the NBA landscape.
“He didn’t have any flaws,” James said. “You just had to be on your toes throughout the course of however many minutes he was playing, which is probably going to be 40-plus. And you couldn’t take a possession off, because he was relentless on the floor every single night.”
James also said that he doesn’t have any idea what moment in Kobe’s career or image that should be captured in the statue.
“I don’t think he has one image that pops into my head and I say that’s the one that should be immortalized on a statue,” James said. “There are just too many memories, too many plays, too many moments that he had. It’s a beautiful moment for not only him but his family.”
Bron and the Lakers will introduce their distinctive “Black Mamba” jerseys for the game against the Denver Nuggets.
Where Will Kobe Bryant Statue Be Unveiled?
The unveiling will take place outside Crypto.com Arena before the Lakers’ home game against the Denver Nuggets.
The date holds special significance: Kobe wore jersey numbers 8 and 24 during different phases of his illustrious Lakers career, and this unveiling pays tribute to his enduring legacy as one of the most dynamic and game-changing athletes in history.
The date of the unveiling (2.8.24) also has deeper meaning, as Gianna wore No. 2 while playing youth basketball and being mentored by her father, who started Mamba Academy to provide girls with the same level facilities and training their male counterparts enjoy.
Kobe and Gigi died alongside seven others on Jan. 26, 2020, and have been commemorated with statues in the past.
This one was temporarily stationed at their crash site over Calabasas.
Kobe Joins Other LA Icons With Statues In Star Plaza
According to NBA TV: “Following his retirement, Kobe Bryant participated in the initial planning of the anticipated statue to come at Star Plaza, the team said. Bryant joins Elgin Baylor, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West and Chick Hearn as Lakers with statues outside the arena. Star Plaza also includes statues of the Los Angeles Kings’ Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille, Dustin Brown and announcer Bob Miller, along with champion boxer Oscar De La Hoya.”
Kobe’s wife Vanessa announced the special occasion via social media back on Aug. 23.
“As you know, Kobe played his entire 20-year NBA career as a Los Angeles Laker,” said Vanessa Bryant in a video to fans. “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 say this is the first in a series of physical tributes to honor his legacy. Mamba mentality is the driving force behind many of today’s upper echelon NBA players.
Who Created The Kobe Bryant Statue?
Renowned sculptor Julie Rotblatt Amrany of the Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt Amrany put his heart and soul into the magnificent creation.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Kobe “Bean” Bryant passed away way too soon at the age of 41. He had so much more to contribute to the world. Bryant, an 18-time NBA All-Star, retired as the first player in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons with a single franchise.
Driven by his incomparable “Mamba Mentality,” Kobe led the Lakers to five NBA titles and earned Finals MVP honors twice (2009, 2010) and All-NBA honors 15 times.
There are many players who consider him The GOAT, despite the absence of his name in commercial conversations surrounding the subject.
“Kobe Bean Bryant. He’s the greatest one-on-one player I’ve ever competed against, and not just because of his skillset. It’s because of his mentality. He was just a certified killer,” Hall of Fame forward Tracy McGrady said on a podcast. “I see MJ & Kobe, but Kobe enhanced those skill sets that he took from Michael Jordan. The ball-handling skills. The fadeaways. I think Kobe is the most skilled basketball player that I’ve ever seen over Michael Jordan.”
If anyone deserves a statue, it’s Kobe. Let’s continue the memory.