Vanessa Bryant explains thoughtful details that went into Kobe statue

ByABC7.com staff KABC logo
Friday, February 9, 2024
Vanessa Bryant explains details of Kobe statue
Vanessa Bryant explained how she worked with the artist to add meaningful details to the statue of Kobe.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The statue of Kobe Bryant unveiled Thursday at Crypto.com Arena represents one of the most iconic moments from a career filled with plenty of them.

The bronze statue sculpted by Julie Rotblatt Amrany stands 19 feet high and weighs 4,000 pounds.

The pose, chosen years ago by Kobe, represents a moment from his stunning 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors in 2006, the second-highest point total in a single game in NBA history.

The base features the box score from that game, as well as a Kobe quote: "Leave the game better than you found it. And when it comes time for you to leave, leave a legend."

The base reads: "Kobe Bean Bryant," with his nickname, "Black Mamba," carved below. It's surrounded by five NBA championship trophies.

The statue also includes a QR code. When scanned with a phone, the code directs to a short film directed by Antoine Fuqua and narrated by Denzel Washington that focuses on Kobe's career and in particular that 81-point game,

Vanessa Bryant explained that Kobe played a role in designing his statue long before he was killed in a helicopter crash in 2020 along with their daughter Gianna.

"For the record. Kobe picked the pose you're about to see," she told the crowd at the ceremony. "So if anyone has any issues with it, tough (expletive). It is what it is."

Three statues

And then Vanessa Bryant revealed another surprise:

"Because fans all over the world and the City of Angels loved Kobe so much, he will have three statues in front of the arena - also known as the house that Kobe built. One wearing the number eight, one with our beautiful daughter Gianna, and one wearing the number 24."

Vanessa said she asked Amrany to add a few details, such as tattooing the names of their daughters on his arm, although some of them weren't born yet at the time of the 81-point game.

The statue sits on a triangular base, a nod to the triangle offense developed by Phil Jackson and Tex Winter.

"It goes without saying that today's an especially sad day for us, since Kobe and Gigi aren't here for what is supposed to be an incredibly joyous moment in Kobe's legacy," Vanessa Bryant said at the ceremony. "I want to thank you all for being here and showing your love and support for Kobe and our family. I'm thankful for all of the fans, including those watching and supporting from home."

"Kobe has so many people that have supported him all over the world from the very beginning. And this moment isn't just for Kobe, but it's for all of you that have been rooting for him all of these years."

"And to the fans here in L.A., this is a special city Kobe was so proud to represent. You welcomed him with open arms, and have been so important to him, our family and his legacy. It brings me joy to see how much love you have for all of us. We love you back. I'd also like to thank Jeanie (Buss) and Linda (Rambis) for their hard work in helping me with the statue and in making this day possible."