Kobe Bryant‘s presence will be felt outside Crypto.com Arena forever — the late Lakers legend’s statue was officially revealed at the venue at an incredibly emotional ceremony … where it was announced two more tributes will go up at a later date.
The new bronze figure shows Kobe pointing to the sky following his 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors in 2006 … a pose Kobe personally chose.
It also includes a nod to the triangle offense and the five championships he won during his Hall of Fame career.
The Black Mamba’s wife and kids, former Purple and Gold players, staffers, front office execs and more were present for the unveiling … which happened to take place on a special day — 02/08/24 — to symbolize Kobe’s two jersey numbers with L.A., as well as the digit his daughter, Gigi, sported during her young, promising basketball career.
Vanessa Bryant, Phil Jackson, Stu Lantz, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Derek Fisher and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss took the stage … and each gave a touching speech as the statue was revealed for the first time.
Vanessa revealed there will be three different statues of Bryant — one each of Kobe’s two different jersey numbers … and a third featuring Gigi.
Vanessa also playfully said “tough s***” to anyone who didn’t like the statue, considering it’s exactly what Kobe wanted.
It’s a day Laker fans have been anticipating ever since the devastating Jan. 2020 helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gigi and seven others … and there will no doubt be tributes left near the bronze figure as its made available to the public over the next few days.
Kobe’s statue joins fellow all-time greats outside the building … like Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal and more.
Kobe is undoubtedly one of the greatest to ever wear a Laker jersey … winning five NBA championships, two scoring titles, two Finals MVPs, a regular season MVP and earning 15 All-NBA nods.
He averaged 25 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists over 20 seasons.