“Mamba Forever” is taking on an even deeper meaning at Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena.
Kobe Bryant did it all in the building formerly known as the Staples Center. Look to the rafters for a physical reminder of Bryant’s indelible impact on the franchise, as the five championship banners he helped raise aren’t far from the Nos. 8 and 24 jerseys that were retired in his honor.
Now, Bryant’s legacy is set to be immortalized with a monument outside the arena.
Here is everything you need to know about the Lakers’ latest tribute to one of the greatest players to ever don the purple and gold.
What is the Kobe Bryant statue?
On Feb. 8, 2024, the Lakers unveiled a statue of Bryant from his historic 81-point performance in 2006.
“Leave the game better than you found it. And when it comes time for you to leave, leave a legend.” pic.twitter.com/h58OKd7Ll1
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 9, 2024
Ahead of the 2023-24 season, Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, helped the Lakers announce that a statue of the late Bryant would be unveiled.
At the unveiling, Vanessa Bryant announced that the statue depicting the pose from 2006 will be the first of three Kobe Bryant statues.
After unveiling a statue of Bryant wearing No. 8, there will be a statue of Bryant with his late daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant and a statue of Bryant wearing No. 24.
Why is the Kobe Bryant statue being unveiled on Feb. 8?
The date (02/08/24) is significant in that it represents Bryant’s numbers with the Lakers and the number of Gigi, who played basketball wearing No. 2.
How many Lakers have statues at Crypto.com Arena?
Bryant’s statue will be part of the Lakers landscape at Crypto.com Arena’s Star Plaza. Bryant is the seventh Laker legend to be honored with a statue at Star Plaza.
Here is the list of Lakers legends that Bryant is set to join:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- Elgin Baylor
- Chick Hearn
- Magic Johnson
- Shaquille O’Neal
- Jerry West
Bryant earns the honor nearly 20 years after Johnson became the first Laker to receive a statue on Feb. 11, 2004, days before the arena hosted the NBA All-Star Game.
What artist did the Kobe Bryant statue?
The Kobe Bryant statue at Crypto.com Arena was created by sculptor Julie Rotblatt Amrany of the Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt Amrany.
Rotblatt Amrany and her husband, Omri Amrany, have done many notable sculptures of athletes, including the monument of Michael Jordan that sits outside of Chicago’s United Center.
More recently, Rotblatt Amrany partnered with the University of South Carolina to create a bronze statue of A’ja Wilson, which was unveiled in 2021.
How to watch Kobe Bryant statue unveiling
- Date: Thursday, Feb. 8
- Time: 6 p.m. ET | 3 p.m. PT
In Los Angeles, the unveiling of the Kobe Bryant statue will air live on Spectrum SportsNet and stream on Spectrum SportsNet+. Coverage will begin at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. local time). Fans can stream the unveiling at NBA.com or on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
After the event, the full ceremony can be viewed at Lakers.com.
Later that night, the Lakers will host the Nuggets in a rematch of the 2023 Western Conference Finals. The game is set to tip at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. local time) on TNT. Los Angeles will bring back its “Mamba” uniforms for the occasion.
2.8.24: The Mamba Unis Return 🖤 pic.twitter.com/dJVVm8TSJ2
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 6, 2024
The black uniforms, which were designed by Bryant, were first worn during the 2017-18 season. The Lakers brought the uniforms back following Bryant’s tragic passing in 2020 and will bring them back for the occasion.