‘Kobe And Gigi Aren’t Here’: Vanessa Bryant’s Emotional Speech As NBA Legend’s Statue Unveiled

Los Angeles Lakers Unveil Kobe Bryant Statue

Source: Ronald Martinez / Getty

Vanessa Bryant was visibly moved on Thursday night during the unveiling of a statue dedicated to her late husband, Kobe Bryant.The bronze statue, honoring the NBA legend who tragically passed away in 2020 at the age of 41, was revealed in a ceremony in Los Angeles held before the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Denver Nuggets.

Los Angeles Lakers Unveil Kobe Bryant Statue

The Kobe Bryant Statue during an unveiling ceremony at Crypto.com Arena on February 8, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Ronald Martinez / Getty

By Friday, the statue was officially on display to the public.

Kobe, along with their daughter Gianna Bryant, 13, and nine others, lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, in January 2020.

MORE: Kobe And Vanessa Bryant: Celebrating Soulmates

Now, Kobe’s statue stands proudly in Star Plaza outside the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California, where the Lakers play their home games. It joins the statues of six other former Lakers greats: Elgin Baylor, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, and Chick Hearn.

Welcomed with a standing ovation, Vanessa took the opportunity to express gratitude to her late husband’s fans for their unwavering support throughout his career.

“Today is an especially poignant day for us since Kobe and Gigi aren’t here for what should be an incredibly joyous moment celebrating Kobe’s legacy,” Vanessa began. “From the very beginning, Kobe had a multitude of supporters worldwide. And this moment isn’t just for Kobe, but it’s for all of you who have been rooting for him all these years.”

Addressing the fans in Los Angeles, Vanessa emphasized the city’s special significance to Kobe. “This is a special city that Kobe was so proud to represent. You welcomed him with open arms and have been so instrumental to him, our family, and his legacy,” she said.

Later, Vanessa took to Instagram to share the moment with her more than 15 million followers. She posted a photo of the statue along with the following Kobe Bryant quote:

“LEAVE THE GAME BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT. AND WHEN IT COMES TIME FOR YOU TO LEAVE, LEAVE A LEGEND.”

The unveiling of the Kobe Bryant statue came a little more than four years since he, his daughter and seven other people died in a helicopter crash in southern California.

Nearly one year ago, Vanessa Bryant settled a legal dispute with Los Angeles County and was awarded nearly $29 million for the pain and suffering caused by sheriff’s deputies taking and sharing heartless photos of the helicopter crash site.

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‘Kobe And Gigi Aren’t Here’: Vanessa Bryant’s Emotional Speech As NBA Legend’s Statue Unveiled  was originally published on rickeysmileymorningshow.com