Report: Lakers finally set date for unveiling of Kobe Bryant statue at Arena

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read

Kobe Bryant reportedly will be immortalized with a statue outside Arena on Aug. 8, 2024 in recognition of the uniform numbers worn by the late Los Angeles Lakers legend.

“The promised Kobe Bryant statue outside LA’s Arena will incorporate his daughter Gigi and – in a nod to his jersey numbers, 8 and 24 – will be unveiled by the Lakers on August 8, 2024, an inside source has told,” wrote Russ Weakland and Alex Raskin.

“Lakers owner Jeanie Buss previously revealed plans to erect a statue for Bryant after he, his 13-year-old daughter, Gigi, six friends and a pilot died in a helicopter crash in January of 2020.

“The source tells that Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, is involved with the plans, but cautioned that an artist for the piece has not yet been chosen.”

The five-time NBA champion played the last of his 20 seasons with the Lakers in the 2015-16 campaign and died in in a helicopter accident with eight other people, including his teenage daughter Gianna (Gigi), in January 2020 at the age of 41.

Talk of a statue for one of the NBA’s all-time greatest players began shortly after the tragic accident. The topic again became prominent after LeBron James hinted at retirement following last season, which drew talk of a statue for the current Lakers star countered by the fact that the Kobe Bryant does not have one as of yet.

Former NBA player Matt Barnes was among those who said Kobe Bryant has to get his statue first before James should be considered for his. It reportedly was believed that the team was waiting until 2024.

A statue of Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant was erected at the crash site in Calabasas, Calif. early in 2022 but was not intended to be a permanent memorial.

The Bryant family recently was acknowledged by Taylor Swift at a recent concert in Los Angeles when the pop superstar gifted the Bryants’ daughter Bianka with a “22” hat acknowledging one of the singer’s popular songs.

Kobe Bryant averaged 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game during his NBA career, all with the Lakers. He was an 18-time All-Star, two-time scoring champion, one-time league MVP and two-time NBA Finals MVP.

Five former Lakers players have statues in Star Plaza outside Arena: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson and Jerry West. The plaza also includes statues of former Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn, Los Angeles Kings player Wayne Gretzky and boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya, among others.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.