Fan who met Kobe through Make-A-Wish among hundreds visiting new statue

Christiane Cordero Image
Saturday, February 10, 2024
Fan who met Kobe through Make-A-Wish visits statue to say thanks
Among the hundreds lined up outside Crypto.com Arena to see the new statue of Kobe Bryant was Moe Freeman, a fan who met Kobe through Make A Wish.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With a taped finger and a wrapped knee as testament to the battle, a victorious Kobe Bryant now stands 19 feet tall in Downtown Los Angeles.

"Details are amazing; it's kind of impressive like that night in January 2006. I remember getting to see the stat line, and I looked at it and I thought it was a 61," said Aaron Quiah of New York.

It was 81. The second most ever in the NBA.

It's among the dozens of career milestones, the essence of which, in this town, is required to get your likeness in bronze, like the many greats now forever alongside him.

But there's something else about Kobe, something that gets hundreds of people to line up on a Friday morning to see his statue.

Something that got David to fly here from Indiana.

"I almost cried a little bit because I love Kobe, I even named my son Kobe," he said.

Something that got Ashley to, just as impressively, drive up from Orange County.

"I'm an artist and so his mentality, the Mamba mentality really instilled that in me from a young age," she said.

Few generational talents are immortalized like this. None have made a bigger impact on Moe Freeman, who met Kobe in 2000.

"That excellence right, that Mamba mentality of striving to be the best version of yourself but also winning," Freeman said.

He does know. He showed us a photo taken Feb. 25, 2000, in the Staples Center. Freeman was battling stage three leukemia at 13 years old. This was his Make a Wish.

He returned today, like so many others, to say thanks.