Kobe Bryant Statue: Background History on Black Mamba’s Sculpture’s Pose at Lakers Facility

Published 02/08/2024, 7:31 PM EST

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With the trade deadline period closing, now we come to one of the most-awaited moments in modern basketball history. The Los Angeles Lakers, as promised, have unveiled the Kobe Bryant statue which the fans across the world have been waiting to witness for years. However, the big question was, what iconic pose of the ‘Black Mamba’ will the Lakers be using? Is it the jersey bite or his eye-pleasing fade away? Is it his cold championship pose with a trophy in his hand? Or is it the one with his late daughter Gigi Bryant? Well, it is nothing like what you expected.

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It is the famous pose of Kobe Bryant pointing his finger toward the sky, with the jersey number ‘8’ on him, after he dropped 81 points against the Toronto Raptors on January 22, 2006. The Lakers made sure to add the entire stats of the game, including their opponents’, right below the statue on its base.

This was the only game when Bryant’s grandma watched him play live for the Lakers. In addition, the Lakers did not forget the famous armband that Bryant used to wear on his left bicep. It was a fitting tribute and an emotional one as well. Due credits have to go to the creators for immortalizing this moment.

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Interestingly, Kobe himself had chosen this pose for his statue years ago. The 81-point game is the most impressive scoring performance in modern NBA history. Over the past few years, multiple stars have crossed the 60 and 70-point threshold. However, no one has come close to 81. Moreover, Kobe’s performance came when the scoring pace was the lowest in league history, making it all the more impressive.

The 19-foot bronze statue, which is the first out of three that will be unveiled in front of the ‘House that Kobe Built’, perfectly encapsulates what Kobe stood for. The 81-point game is arguably the #8 wearing Kobe’s most iconic performance. Another statue with Bryant in his #24 jersey and a third one with him and his daughter, Gianna, will be unveiled in due course.

Watch this story: “Who has reached 10,000 career points faster than Luka Doncic?” 

The unveiling ceremony brought together some of the best basketball players in Lakers franchise history. It looked like a mini Lakers reunion, and they all came together only for our beloved Kobe Bean Bryant.

Who were the famous faces at the unveiling ceremony?

Some of the famous faces at the Crypto.com Arena were Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Derek Fisher, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Robert Horry, Ron Artest, and coach Phil Jackson. However, only a few got the honor of making it to the stage, along with Vanessa Bryant and the Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.

It was Fisher, who played the most games with Kobe, Jackson, who coached Bryant to five titles, Kareem, and another unique contributor to Bryant’s career, Stu Lantz, who has used the 5x champion’s name more than anyone else in the commentating history.

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USA Today via Reuters

Since 1987, Lantz has been the analyst for the famous franchise and he was a commentator in all the twenty years that Bryant played. Well, the Lakers honored him by making him the host of the ceremony. That is indeed a fitting honor!

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Apart from some famous legends of the Lakers, there were a few other faces that wanted to see the statue live. Miami Heat legend and dear friend of Bryant, Dwyane Wade, made it to the ceremony. New Orleans Pelicans center and former Lakers Larry Nance Jr. joined the crowd as well. WNBA star Lisa Leslie was also there to honor the legend.

What are your thoughts on the statue? Share your take in the comments below.

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Written by:

Rohan Dharmalingam

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I could have never imagined getting a shoutout from Los Angeles Lakers icon Shaquille O'Neal and the rap legend 50 Cent on Instagram. But they say 'Dreams Do Come True' right? This is what EssentiallySports has given me. Covering trade rumors, contract signings, lives of NBA superstars and legends has been my go-to thing.
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Edited by:

Sameen Nawathe

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