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Vanessa Bryant gives emotional speech unveiling new Kobe Bryant statue, shares that he chose the pose

"For the record, Kobe picked the pose you’re about to see. So if anyone has any issues with it, tough s---," she said.
/ Source: TODAY

Vanessa Bryant gave an emotional speech after a statue of her late husband, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, was unveiled outside the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Feb. 8.

“To the fans here in L.A., this is a special city Kobe was so proud to represent,”?Vanessa Bryant said. “You welcomed him with open arms and have been so important to him, our family and his legacy. It brings me joy to see how much love you have for all of us. We love you back.”

The 19-foot bronze statue shows the five-time NBA champion posing with his right index finger raised in the air in victory.

Los Angeles Lakers Unveil Kobe Bryant Statue
Vanessa Bryant speaks during the unveiling ceremony for a new Kobe Bryant statue at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California, on Feb. 8.Adam Pantozzi / NBAE via Getty Images

The devoted wife, who helped design the statue with sculptor Julie Rotblatt Amrany, revealed that her late husband had a hand in choosing how he would be depicted.

“For the record, Kobe picked the pose you’re about to see. So if anyone has any issues with it, tough s---. It is what it is,”?she joked.

Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter,?Gianna or “Gigi,” died in a helicopter crash?in January 2020 in Calabasas, California. The pair were traveling to a basketball tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks.

Los Angeles Lakers Unveil Kobe Bryant Statue
The 19-foot bronze statue shows the five-time NBA champion posing with his right index finger raised in victory in the air. Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

Vanessa Bryant, who married Kobe Bryant in 2001, revealed in her speech that she requested that the statue include the names of Gigi and the couple's three other daughters: Natalia, 20, Bianka, 6, and Capri, 4.

“One detail you may notice is that all of our daughter’s names are tattooed on Kobe’s arm," she said. "Although some of our girls weren’t born at the time of that particular moment, that specific detail is for Kobe."

She also said her late husband, who retired in 2016 after 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, would be be honored in two additional statues at the arena, “also known as 'The House that Kobe Built,'” she said.

She noted that one of the future statues would depict the NBA legend alongside Gigi.

Vanessa Bryant concluded her speech by quoting something her late husband once said: "'Leave the game better than you found it, and when it comes time for you to leave, leave a legend,'" she said.

"And that he did," she added.


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