The statue was created by sculptor Dan Medina and showed Kobe, in his Lakers uniform and with his arm around Gianna, who is also wearing a uniform while holding a basketball by her side. The two are looking at each other with big smiles.
Medina told NBC Los Angeles that he brought the 160-pound bronze statue to a hilltop in Calabasas at 4 a.m. on Wednesday. He removed it at the end of the day.
The statue has the names of the Bryants and the seven other victims in the Jan. 26, 2020, helicopter crash -- John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser; Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton; and pilot Ara Zobayan -- inscribed on its base.
Fans took photos of the statue along with leaving flowers and other memorials at the crash site.
The helicopter carrying all eight passengers was on its way to a girls' basketball tournament that Gianna, 13, was due to play in. It crashed in the hills west of Los Angeles amid foggy weather, and federal safety officials have since blamed pilot error for the wreck.
"You come up here and it is kind of emotional,'' Medina told the Los Angeles Times. "The flowers, the jerseys, the hats blow away, and I think we need something more permanent. I kind of want to follow the law, respect the locals, respect the Santa Monica Mountains."
Medina said the statue is a smaller version of a life-size sculpture he is working on that he hopes can find a location in downtown Los Angeles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Stephen A. pays tribute to Kobe on anniversary of his death
Stephen A. Smith remembers Kobe Bryant on the second anniversary of his death.