In a poignant homage to one of Los Angeles’ most cherished sports icons, the Lakers unveiled a statue of Kobe Bryant at the Arena on Thursday.

The statue depicted Bryant adorned in his iconic No. 8 jersey, though Vanessa Bryant, his widow, revealed plans for two more statues: one featuring him in his No. 24 jersey and another with his daughter Gianna, who tragically perished alongside him in a helicopter crash in 2020. However, these additional statues were not presented during the ceremony.

Vanessa shared that Kobe had a hand in designing the statue, stating, “For the record, Kobe picked the pose you’re about to see.” She added defiantly, “So if anyone has any issues with it, tough (expletive). It is what it is.”

The statue boasted intricate details, including tattoos of Kobe’s daughters’ names on his arm, replicas of his five championship trophies, and a QR code enabling fans to access highlights of Kobe’s career. Positioned atop a triangular base, the statue paid homage to the famed triangle offense pioneered by Phil Jackson and Tex Winter.

Kobe Bryant statue unveiled at Arena by the Lakers.

Open to public viewing from Friday morning onwards, the statue’s unveiling ceremony featured speeches from luminaries such as team owner Jeanie Buss, former teammates Derek Fisher and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and ex-coach Phil Jackson.

Among the audience were basketball legends like Magic Johnson, Pau Gasol, and Robert Horry, along with NBA commissioner Adam Silver and former Lakers player and executive Jerry West, who played a pivotal role in Kobe’s recruitment to the team.

Jeanie Buss reminisced about her father Jerry’s unwavering faith in Kobe, remarking on the transformative impact his arrival had on the franchise since his trade in 1996 from the Charlotte Hornets.

Phil Jackson shared anecdotes illustrating Kobe’s tenacity and his complex relationship with Michael Jordan, including a memorable meeting arranged between the two basketball icons to impart wisdom on teamwork and competitiveness.

The unveiling of the Kobe statues at’s Star Plaza holds special significance, falling on February 8, 2024, a date aligning with both of Kobe’s jersey numbers and commemorating the legacy of his late daughter, Gianna, who wore No. 2 as a budding basketball talent.