On February 8, 2024, the Los Angeles Lakers paid tribute to their legendary player, Kobe Bryant, by unveiling a bronze statue in his honor. The date, 2-8-24, holds special significance as it aligns with the iconic numbers associated with Bryant’s illustrious career. The unveiling ceremony took place at Star Plaza, located outside Crypto.com Arena, just before the Lakers’ home game against the Denver Nuggets.
Bryant’s statue joins an esteemed group of Lakers icons commemorated in bronze, including Elgin Baylor, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, and Chick Hearn. The Black Mamba, as he was affectionately known, left an indelible mark on the NBA, winning five championships, earning two NBA Finals MVP awards, and participating in 18 NBA All-Star games—all while donning the purple and gold of the Lakers. His legacy continues to resonate even after his tragic passing in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
In addition to the statue unveiling, the Lakers paid further homage by donning special Black Mamba uniforms during the game against the Nuggets. Designed with input from Bryant himself, these uniforms feature snakeskin-themed black prints, drop shadows on the jersey numbers, and the inscription “LA 24” on the belt. Each leg of the shorts bears his iconic jersey numbers, 8 and 24.
Kobe Bryant’s impact transcends basketball, and this statue serves as a lasting tribute to his greatness. As fans, we remember not only his on-court achievements but also the relentless work ethic, passion, and competitive spirit that defined his career. The Black Mamba lives on in the hearts of Lakers fans worldwide.