Robert Horry opens up on how Kobe Bryant’s statue unveiling will be ‘very sad’ and ‘really joyous’

Peter Dewey
6 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers legend Robert Horry believes the unveiling of Kobe Bryant’s statue will be a day full of mixed emotions.

The Lakers recently announced that they will unveil a statue of Bryant on Feb. 8, 2024. The five-time NBA champion is one of the greatest players in Lakers history.

Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter accident in January of 2020, so the unveiling of his statue to honor his legacy will certainly be an emotional time for those who knew him and cheered for him during his NBA career.

“He’s part of the second so-called dynasty that the Lakers have had,” Horry told Sportskeeda. “You think about Magic [Johnson] and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] and you think about Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) and Kobe and Kobe and Pau [Gasol], and that crew. It’s fitting. It’s very fitting. It’s always cool when you can think about the actual day.

“It’s so cool that it’s 2-8-24. I’m excited. I just hope and pray that I can be a part of the festivities. I was thinking when I heard the announcement on how sad it was going to be. You always want to give the people their flowers when they’re around. You know he was going to get those when he was around. But tragically, the accident happened. It’s going to be a very, very sad day. But it’s going to be a really, really joyous day. Anytime you talk about mixed emotions, this is truly going to be one of those times.”

During his playing career, Bryant was named to 18 All-Star teams and won two scoring titles. In addition to his five NBA titles, he won Finals MVP honors two times. He played every game of his career with the Lakers and put on an amazing performance in his final NBA game, scoring 60 points in a win over the Utah Jazz.

Bryant’s legacy speaks for itself, but Horry clearly knows that it will be an emotional day honoring him since he is no longer here.

Fellow Lakers legend Jerry West also shared his thoughts.

“I’m sure it will be a great day to honor him and more importantly for his life-long fans and the people he touched in his life,” West said. “I don’t know what the reaction will be to this happening. It’s so strange. I’m having trouble putting words together here because there are significant factors here with his time as a player and then his passing and the legacy he’s left.

“He will not be forgotten. It’ll be another opportunity for fans to see a part of his life that will live forever. There will be a lot of people there that won’t have dry eyes, that’s for sure. It’s hard to put into words. I still have so many memories of him. I go in my kids’ rooms. They no longer live here. They still have an incredible display of pictures of Kobe and my kids when they were smaller. The emotions don’t go away in this household.”

For his career, Bryant averaged 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 32.9 percent from beyond the arc. He will forever be one of the most important figures in Lakers history, and it’s clear that he touched the hearts of many during his time in a Lakers uniform.

Horry believes that there will not only be tears of joy for the unveiling of Bryant’s statue, but also tears of sadness. He shared that he wishes Bryant could speak at the event and thank the people he wanted to thank since he was such an “eloquent” speaker.

“You get your handkerchiefs and Kleenex,” Horry said. “You’re going to have tears of joy. You’re going to have tears of sadness. But most of it will be sadness because you would’ve loved to hear what he would’ve had to say and the people he wanted to thank. That’s one of the things few people talked about – how eloquent of a speaker he was. He could talk with the Einsteins and the two-year-olds, and they would all understand him and appreciate his message. That’s the biggest part that is going to be missed. His wife knows him best and his parents know him best. But only the person that could put into words how he would want to say it is Kobe himself.”

There’s no doubt that there will be a lot of sad emotions, but Bryant will also be immortalized forever with the statue. It’s going to be a very special day for the Lakers franchise.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.