Joe Paige | Sports Editor
Last Night, at Crypto.com arena in Los Angeles, The Lakers unveiled the highly anticipated statue of the lifetime Laker legend, Kobe Bryant. The statue is modeled after the moment when Kobe scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the 2nd most points ever scored in an NBA game. There will be two more statues, one with him wearing the number 24, the other will include his daughter Gigi.
From winning back-to-back-to-back championships, to scoring the most points in a game in Laker history, Kobe Bryant’s highly accomplished career cemented himself amongst the greatest players to ever step foot on an NBA floor. His dedication to winning for the Lakers has left a standing effect on the city of Los Angeles and is universally regarded as a legend in Los Angeles sports history.
Coming into league, he drew many comparisons to Hall of Famer, Michael Jordan. Jordan was the face of the NBA, when Jordan would slowly be exiting his prime, Kobe was quickly at the forefront of replacing his position in the league. Although even to this day, many argue whether he met those expectations, it’s undeniable that he had that similar effect on the league that Jordan once had.
Kobe finished his career as a two-time Olympic gold medalist, five-time NBA Champion, and ranks 4th in the NBA’s all-time scoring list. He was selected to the All-star game eighteen times, only him and Hall-of-Famer Bob Pettit won the All-Star Game MVP award a record four times, in 2020 the NBA re-named the award after Kobe Bryant in his honor.
It’s been just over four years since Kobe, his daughter Gianna, and seven others tragically passed away in a helicopter crash. Despite his on-court achievements deserving a statue in his honor, the tragic circumstances prevent him from being present to celebrate them.
Kobe Bryant’s impact on the athletes of today is well represented around the world, many of today’s star athletes, not only in the NBA, but across all sports looked up to Kobe growing up. His Mamba Mentality, as he says, “attacking what's in front of you with passion and purpose, without fear...”, continues to live strong and proud within people's hearts to this day.