Vanessa posted a photo of herself stood in front of the bronze statue of her late husband with their daughters Capri, Bianka and Natalia
On Thursday, the Los Angeles Lakers' Crypto.com Arena unveiled a bronze statue of Kobe Bryant outside the sports complex in a star-studded ceremony. Vanessa, 41, was there for the special moment along with daughters Capri Kobe, 4½, Bianka Bella, 7, and Natalia Bryant, 21.
Following the unveiling, Vanessa posted a photo on Instagram of herself and her girls stood in front of the statue and captioned it with a quote from her late husband. "'LEAVE THE GAME BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT. AND WHEN IT COMES TIME FOR YOU TO LEAVE, LEAVE A LEGEND.' ~ @kobebryant💜💛👑🐍," she wrote.
Kobe and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a 2020 helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of seven others. His jersey numbers in Los Angeles were 8 and 24, while Gianna wore the number 2 when she played basketball, hence the 2/8/24 statue revelation date.
"Forever immortalized, forever in our hearts 💜💛, the Lakers commented on Vanessa's post.
During the ceremony, Vanessa, who married Kobe in 2001, also gave an emotional speech and announced plans for two more statues of her husband, including one featuring their late daughter Gianna.
"Kobe has so many people that have supported him all over the world from the very beginning and this moment isn't just for Kobe, but it's for all of you that have been rooting for him all of these years," she said.
The proud wife also commented on the pose Kobe is striking in the statue, which seems him raising his right arm and pointing his finger to the sky. "And for the record, Kobe picked the pose you're about to see, so if anyone has any issues with it, tough s---," she joked.
The ceremony was attended by the likes of ex-Lakers player Lamar Odom, former part owner and basketball legend Magic Johnson, and Ciara and Russell Wilson. Speeches were also given by former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, legendary player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe's former teammate, Derek Fisher and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.
Vanessa first announced the statue, which depicts Kobe in his white No.8 jersey, publicly in a video shared in August.
"As you know, Kobe played his entire 20-year NBA career as a Los Angeles Laker,” Vanessa said in the clip. “Since arriving in this city and joining the Lakers organization, he felt at home here, playing in the City of Angels."
"On behalf of the Lakers, my daughters and me, I am so honored that, right in the center of Los Angeles, in front of the place known as 'The House That Kobe Built,' we are going to unveil his statue so that his legacy can be celebrated forever," she said.
The video came complete with the caption, "Kobe’s legacy immortalized 2•8•24."
In her newly-released cover story for Town & Country this week, Natalia opened up about how she continues to be impacted by the ambitious mindset of her late father, four years after his death.
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“In terms of legacy, my main goal is just to be the best version of me that I possibly can,” Natalia told the magazine. She added that she has an “understanding that there’s no expectation that I should have for each stage of life.”
“I just need to know that I have to keep learning because there’s no finish line,” the USC film student and fashion model continued. “You just have to keep pushing and being the best person you can be and soaking everything up like a sponge... The job’s never done.”
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