‘What excellence looks like’: 19ft Kobe Bryant statue revealed at Lakers arena (2024)

The Los Angeles Lakers revealed a statue of Kobe Bryant on Thursday, honoring their late superstar with a 19ft bronze likeness outside their downtown arena.

The 4,000lb statue depicts Bryant in his white No 8 jersey with his right index finger raised as he walked off the court following his 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors in January 2006.

Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, said during the dedication ceremony that the statue is the first of three that will be created to honor the five-time NBA champion and top scorer in Lakers history. Another statue will feature Bryant in his No 24 jersey, which he wore for the second half of his career, while a third will depict Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who died with him and seven others in a helicopter crash in January 2020.

“This statue may look like Kobe, but really it’s what excellence looks like,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said. “What discipline looks like. What commitment looks like ... It captures a person frozen in time, while at the same time acknowledges that the reason there is a statue in the first place is because that person is timeless. We’re all here today to honor a man who represents not just extraordinary sports achievement, but also timeless values that inspire us all to try harder to be not just better, but our best.”

The first statue was presented at a ceremony attended by dozens of Lakers greats and hundreds of season ticket holders. Vanessa Bryant spoke at the ceremony after remarks from team owner Jeanie Buss, former teammate Derek Fisher, Abdul-Jabbar and longtime Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

‘What excellence looks like’: 19ft Kobe Bryant statue revealed at Lakers arena (2)

“I think of Kobe constantly, and I miss him and Gigi more than words can say,” Buss said. “But today, I’m filled with joy because in the future, I know fans will gather here in the shade of this statue beside this building where Kobe gave us so many memories, and we will share what he meant to us. As we do so, we will motivate a new generation to emulate the Mamba Mentality.”

Bryant retired in 2016 after a 20-year career spent entirely with the Lakers. He is the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history with 33,643 points, and his accolades included 18 NBA All-Star selections and two NBA Finals MVP awards.

His death has scarcely dimmed the shine of his presence in Los Angeles, where he remains a beloved icon of his adopted city. Bryant and his daughter are featured in hundreds of vibrant public murals across Los Angeles.

‘What excellence looks like’: 19ft Kobe Bryant statue revealed at Lakers arena (3)

Even before Bryant’s death, Lakers fans speculated about the pose or image that would be immortalized in his statue. While the announcement of three statues changes the argument, Vanessa Bryant said there shouldn’t be a debate at all: Kobe himself chose the pose for the first statue before his death.

“Kobe has so many people that have supported him all over the world from the very beginning, and this moment isn’t just for Kobe, but it’s for all of you that have been rooting for him all of these years,” she said. “To the fans here in LA, this is a special city Kobe was so proud to represent. You welcomed him with open arms and have been so important to him, our family, and his legacy.

“It brings me joy to see how much love you have for all of us. We love you back.”

The statue’s base reads: “Kobe Bean Bryant”, with his nickname, “Black Mamba”, carved below. The triangular platform – a nod to Jackson assistant Tex Winter’s famed triangle offense, the bedrock of the Lakers’ success in the 2000s – is surrounded by five replicas of the Larry O’Brien trophy.

‘What excellence looks like’: 19ft Kobe Bryant statue revealed at Lakers arena (4)

The base includes the box score from his 81-point game and a QR code for fans to watch highlights of the performance. A Bryant quote is also featured: “Leave the game better than you found it. And when it comes time for you to leave, leave a legend.”

Bryant is the sixth Lakers player and seventh team employee to be honored with a statue in Star Plaza outside of the arena known as Staples Center throughout Bryant’s career. He joins Shaquille O’Neal, Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Lakers announcer Chick Hearn.

“He wasn’t just a champion,” Fisher said. “He was unmatched. A rare specimen that left opposing players in awe, teammates inspired. He didn’t just play the game. He defined it. That’s really what it was like to be around him on a daily basis. He set the standard. He broke records. The legacy he leaves behind are foundations upon which current players and future players build their dreams.”

‘What excellence looks like’: 19ft Kobe Bryant statue revealed at Lakers arena (2024)


‘What excellence looks like’: 19ft Kobe Bryant statue revealed at Lakers arena? ›

It stands on a triangle base to represent Tex Winter's triangle offense and replicas of the Larry O'Brien Trophy. The statue has “Kobe Bean Bryant” and his nickname “Black Mamba” carved on it. “This statue may look like Kobe, but really it's what excellence looks like,” Abdul-Jabbar said during the ceremony.

What does the new Kobe Bryant statue look like? ›

The 4,000-pound statue depicts Bryant in his white No. 8 jersey with his right index finger raised as he walked off the court following his 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors in January 2006.

Where can I watch Kobe statue unveil? ›

Kobe Bryant Statue Unveiling Ceremony (2/8/24) - Live Stream - Watch ESPN.

What is the quote on the Kobe Bryant statue? ›

The side of the base reads a quote from Kobe, “Leave the game better than you found it. And when it comes time for you to leave, leave a legend.”

Who attended Kobe Bryant statue unveiling? ›

Former teammates, coaches and family were among the people who spoke at the Kobe Bryant statue unveiling ceremony (from left to right): Derek Fisher, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jeanie Buss, Phil Jackson, Vanessa Bryant and Stu Lantz.

How many Kobe statues are there? ›

Kobe Bryant statue unveiled in downtown LA

The first statue – revealed Thursday – is in honor of Bryant's 81-point game, the second statue will be of Bryant and his daughter Gianna and a third statue will have Bryant in the No. 24 jersey.

Do the Lakers have a Kobe Bryant statue? ›

One month after the Los Angeles Lakers unveiled their Kobe Bryant statue to honor the late NBA legend, the new landmark apparently has more than a few egregious man-made errors.

What time do they unveil Kobe statue? ›

☑️ “You need to change the game.” ☑️ “You need to be monumental.” “Kobe Bryant checks every box.” Today, Kobe's Laker legacy will be immortalized in LA with a statue unveiling at 6:30 ET.

Do you need tickets for Kobe statue unveiling? ›

The event itself is a restricted event that requires a special event ticket to attend. A game ticket does not count as an event ticket and will not allow for access to the statue unveiling.

Where is the Kobe Bryant statue? ›

In a press conference last month, Bryant's widow, Vanessa Bryant, said the bronze statue next to the Crypto.com arena is one of three commissioned in her late husband's honor.

What was Kobe's best quote of all time? ›

10 Best Quotes From Kobe Bryant
  • “From the beginning, I wanted to be the best. ...
  • “Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.”
  • “I've played with IVs before, during and after games. ...
  • “When I have the chance to guard Michael Jordan, I want to guard him. ...
  • “I can't relate to lazy people.
Apr 19, 2022

What is the Kobe Bryant symbol? ›

Kobe has a geometric logo design that has been around since the beginning of his partnership with Nike in 2003. The abstract illustration is composed of six shapes that form an image of a sword sheath. Kobe explained in an interview that his talent is the sword and his life experiences stand as the sheath.

What is Kobe's most famous quote? ›

As the NBA icon said best: "Hard work outweighs talent — every time." Gianna and Kobe Bryant.

Why is Kobe getting 3 statues? ›

The Lakers announced last month that Bryant would get two more statues, one with him in a No. 24 jersey, which he wore in his last 10 seasons, and the other with daughter Gianna, who also was killed in the crash.

Where is Kobe Bryant buried? ›

The small cemetery where Kobe Bryant is buried contains the graves of some notable people — including one arguably as famous as the basketball star. Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were buried Friday at Pacific View Memorial Park in Newport Beach. They were killed Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash.

What statues are in front of crypto arena? ›

Star Plaza
Elgin BaylorBasketballSee also: Statue of Elgin Baylor Played for the Lakers from 1958 to 1971
Dustin BrownIce hockeyMain article: Statue of Dustin Brown Played for the Kings from 2003 to 2022
Kobe BryantBasketballMain article: Statue of Kobe Bryant Played for the Lakers from 1996 to 2016
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What is the significance of 2 8 24? ›

The big unveiling represents a significant day marking 2/8/24 – all numbers that honor both jersey numbers Bryant wore during his NBA career, No. 8 and No. 24, as well as Gianna Bryant, who wore No. 2.

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