The 4,000-pound statue is based on Bryant in his No. 8 jersey during his career-best 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors in January 2006. Bryant's widow, Vanessa, said the statue would be the first of three dedicated to her late husband, with another featuring Bryant in his No. 24 jersey, which he wore during the final nine seasons, as well as another depicting him and his late daughter, Gianna, who was among the other eight victims killed in the January 2020 helicopter crash that claimed his life.
“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,” Vanessa said via NBC News. “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.”
Bryant, a 5-time NBA champion, ranks first in career points, 3-point field goals, steals, and games played, as well as second in assists, in Lakers franchise history. The Lakers had previously erected statues for five other hall of fame former players: Earvin 'Magic' Johnson, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal.