Kobe Bryant: Los Angeles Lakers unveil statue of NBA legend

The Los Angeles Lakers have unveiled a statue in tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

Five-time NBA champion Bryant died aged 41 in a helicopter crash, alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, in 2020.

His bronze statue, standing at 19ft and weighing 4,000lb, is situated outside the Lakers’ home, the Crypto.com Arena.

It shows Bryant, who played for the Lakers his entire career, in his famous number eight jersey.

“This statue may look like Kobe, but really, it’s what excellence looks like,” said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was joined at the unveiling by fellow Lakers legends Magic Johnson, Jerry West and Derek Fisher.

Former head coach Phil Jackson and Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, were also in attendance.

“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,” Vanessa Bryant said.

“I leave you with one of my husband’s amazing quotes,” she added. “‘Leave the game better than you found it and when it comes time for you to leave, leave a legend.’ And that he did.”

The statue is the first of three that will honour Bryant, with another set to feature him in his number 24 jersey, while the third will depict Bryant and Gianna.

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