The brand new statue of the late NBA superstar was unveiled in Los Angeles where his widow Vanessa Bryant delivered an emotional speech.
The world has not forgotten NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and nor have his devoted fans who were assembled to witness the unveiling of the late basketball player's 19-foot tall bronze statue outside the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on February 8, 2024. The statue had the "Black Mamba" of the Los Angeles Lakers posing with his index finger pointing at the sky as a sign of victory. The event was also attended by Bryant's widow Vanessa who emotionally addressed the people at the event.
For Kobe. For the die-hard Laker fans. For our family.— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 9, 2024
Mamba forever. pic.twitter.com/uExf0oEWgY
“To the fans here in L.A., this is a special city Kobe was so proud to represent,” Vanessa said. “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.” She also made an interesting revelation while delivering her speech at the event. She had helped sculptor Julie Rotblatt Amrany to forge the design of the bronze sculpture of her late husband and mentioned how Bryant had a role in choosing how his statue should be depicted if it gets made.
“For the record, Kobe picked the pose you’re about to see. So if anyone has any issues with it, tough as hell. It is what it is,” she joked. She also requested that the statue include the names of Gigi and the couple's three other daughters: Natalia, Bianka and Capri as tattoos on the statue's arm. "As you know, Kobe played his entire 20-year NBA career as a Los Angeles Laker. 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," Vanessa continued.
"Leave the game better than you found it, and when it comes time for you to leave, leave a legend," Vanessa added at the end of her speech, recalling a few words from her late husband. "And that he did." Bryant sure was an inspirational athlete who impacted the lives of countless fans and the sport as well. The beloved NBA athlete who used to play as a shooting guard for Lakers gave several interviews during his illustrious career and one of those still stands out from the rest. In one of his last interviews with the author and former football player Lewis Howes, Bryant opened up about some of the most important lessons he had learned early in his life.
"Who was more influential to you, your father or mother?" Howes questioned. "Both were influential on different points. My mom was influential daily, but my father was really influential at a critical time. At a summer when I played basketball as a 10 or 11 years old, I come in and I don't score a point for an entire summer," Bryant recounted. "I remember crying about it and being upset about it. My father hugged me and said, 'Listen, whether you score 0 or you score 60, I am going to love you, no matter what.' That is the most important thing you can say to a child. Because from that point, I was like, okay, it gives me all the confidence in the world to fail. I have the security there, but the hell with that, I am going to score 60."
View this post on Instagram
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gigi unfortunately passed away in a helicopter crash in January 2020 in Calabasas, California while the duo was traveling to a basketball tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks. According to Vanessa's recent speech at the event, Bryant, who retired in 2016 after 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, will be honored with two additional statues at the arena which is also dubbed as "The House That Kobe Built."