The late Lakers icon Kobe Bryant has become the seventh player from that team to be honored with a statue. Bryant's was unveiled before the Lakers played the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night — a significant date for the team members who planned to wear their Black Mamba uniforms on Feb. 8.
Thursday's "2-8-24" numerical date represents a special image in the eyes of Bryant's fans and teammates, after he wore the numbers 8 and 24 for the Lakers during his many games with the team. And, the Black Mamba uniforms were co-designed by Bryant.
Bryant’s statue unveiling at Star Plaza, outside of Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, puts the late, and great, player in a special league.
His fellow honoree and teammate Shaquille O'Neal said Kobe checks every box to qualify for the honor, including his record of wins, the changes he made to the game, and his monumental stature in the sport.
Bryant was born on Aug. 23, 1978 in Philadelphia. His father was Joe "Jelly Bean" Bryant, a professional basketball player who spent eight seasons in the NBA and eight playing in Italy. Bryant went to school in Italy and later had a remarkably successful career in basketball, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships.
Bryant died on Jan. 26, 2020 in Calabasas, California, at 41-years-old, when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed, killing all nine people on board. Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna was among those killed.
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