To honor NBA legend Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers unveiled a monument.
In 2020, the five-time NBA champion Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people, perished in a helicopter crash at the age of 41.
The 19-foot-tall, 4,000-pound bronze statue of him is located outside the Crypto.com Arena, home of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant, who spent his whole playing career with the Lakers, is seen wearing his well-known number eight jersey.
Legendary Lakers players Magic Johnson, Jerry West, and Derek Fisher were present at the installation. “This statue may look like Kobe, but really, it’s what excellence looks like,” declared Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Vanessa Bryant, the widow of the former head coach Phil Jackson, was also present.
“As I see today’s current generation of star players follow in Kobe’s footsteps with huge scoring games, I know he would take pride in knowing that he is still pouring inspiration into the game that was so special to him,” said Vanessa Bryant.
“I leave you with one of my husband’s amazing quotes,” she continued. “‘Leave the game better than when you found it, and leave a legend behind when it’s time to go.’ Additionally, he did it.”
The first of three statues that will memorialize Bryant will be unveiled later this year; the second will show him wearing his number 24 jersey, and the third will show Bryant and Gianna together.
The Lakers honor Bryant in their loss to Denver.
The Lakers wore their “Black Mamba” jerseys during Thursday’s reveal. Bryant co-designed them, and they were originally worn in 2018 during their 114-106 loss to the Denver Nuggets.
The reigning NBA champion Nuggets defeated the Lakers for the seventh time in a row behind the 29-point performance, game-high 11 assists, and seven rebounds of Jamal Murray.
With 32 points and 25 from LeBron James, Anthony Davis led the Lakers.
In another game, Stephen Curry led his Golden State Warriors to a 131-109 victory over the Indiana Pacers with 42 points.
With 11 of his 16 three-pointers made, Curry broke the previous NBA record for the most career games with 11 or more three-pointers made.
The Detroit Pistons required overtime to upset the Portland Trail Blazers 128-122, while the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 129-105.
The Dallas Mavericks defeated the New York Knicks 122-108 thanks to 39 points from Luka Doncic. The Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, and Phoenix Suns also triumphed.