In the interview, the Lakers Owner Jeanie Buss said this in the statement, “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.” He further mentioned that “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.”
The announcement was made on August 24th, which is quite symbolic. This is because August 24 is now officially celebrated as ‘Kobe Bryant Day’ in many parts of the USA, including Los Angeles and Orange County. The day is chosen because of the two numbers that he wore on his jersey during his time with the Lakers. Thus, this day was chosen as the ideal to make the announcement, and it also would have been the day after his 46th birthday.
His daughter, Gianna, who also died in the 2020 helicopter accident that also claimed the life of the player himself, wore No. 2; hence, the month of the statue unveiling is kept as the second month of the year, thus representing all the three uniform numbers worn by the Bryant family.
Also Read: Top 10 NBA Shooters Of All Time
Kobe’s Legacy Immortalized
Bryant will be the seventh Laker to have been honored with a statue. Before him, players who got the tribute were Shaquille O’Neal, Chick Hearn, fellow Laker legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Elgin Baylor, and Jerry West.
It was reported that Bryant took part in the proceeding and planning of his statue but sadly did not live to see it being built and unveiled. Kobe’s widow, Vanessa, also uploaded a video expressing how grateful she is for the statue to be tributed to her late husband’s legacy.
“As you know, Kobe played his entire 20-year NBA career as a Los Angeles Lakers,” Vanessa 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 Kobe built, we are going to unveil his statue so that his legacy can be celebrated forever.”
On February 8th, 2024, the Lakers will be hosting the defending champions Denver Nuggets for a rematch of the Western Conference Finals. This announcement made an already anticipated matchup on the schedule a lot more interesting.