Vanessa Bryant Announces Kobe Bryant to Be Honored With Statue Outside Lakers' Arena

The NBA legend will be honored with the display in February 2024.

The Los Angeles Lakers are honoring the memory of Kobe Bryant with a statue featured outside their Arena.

Vanessa Bryant shared the news in a video shared on the basketball team's Instagram page, informing fans that the statue in her late husband's honor will be unveiled on Feb. 8, 2024.

"As you know, Kobe played his entire 20-year NBA career as a Los Angeles Laker," Vanessa says in the clip. "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. Hope to see you there," she adds.

"Kobe's legacy immortalized 2•8•24," the post's caption reads.

Kobe and their daughter, 13-year-old Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, tragically died in January 2020 when a helicopter carrying them, seven other passengers, and the pilot crashed in Calabasas, California. There were no survivors.

His Lakers jersey numbers were 8 and 24, and Gianna wore the number 2 when she played basketball, thus the 2/8/24 statute unveiling date.

The honor makes Kobe the seventh Laker to be commemorated with a statue. He joins the likes of other Lakers legends such as Elgin Baylor, Shaquille O'Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Jerry West, and Chick Hearn.

In a release posted on the NBA website, the organization notes that Kobe participated in planning the statue after his retirement, before his death. The statue was created by renowned sculptor Julie Rotblatt Amrany of the Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt Amrany. 

"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's transcendent spirit is always and forever in our hearts - inspiring us every day," said Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager. "And now, with the unveiling of this powerful and beautiful statue, he will have a physical presence, too. A place on the hallowed ground Kobe created, where we can all gather and pay honor to a mighty and great man." 

The announcement comes a day after what would have marked Kobe's 45th birthday. On Wednesday, Vanessa took to Instagram to give her late husband a shout-out, sharing a series of fun throwback pictures leading with a photo of her planting a kiss on Kobe's cheek.

The 41-year-old mother of four included pictures of the pair at the Oscars, following the basketball pro's history-making win in 2018, as well as pics from date nights, and pictures of the young couple on the red carpet. However, some of the sweetest photos were of Vanessa kissing her husband. 

The birthday love for Kobe was felt in the comments as Vanessa's famous friends left messages on the post.

"Love you so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️," La La Anthony wrote.

"Your love is blessed," Zoe Saldana added.

The Los Angeles Lakers franchise commented with an infinity emoji, signaling "Mamba Forever." 

Kobe and Vanessa's oldest daughter, Natalia Bryant, took to her respective Instagram and shared her own tribute to her father.

"Happy Birthday Daddy❤️," she captioned the photo of Kobe holding her as a baby at a Los Angeles Dodgers game.

In May, Vanessa also penned a sweet post on what would have been Gianna's 17th birthday