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Statue of Kobe Bryant and daughter placed at helicopter crash site on two year anniversary


Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant

A sculpture of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna was placed at the site of the helicopter crash where they both died two years ago.

The basketball star, widely regarded as one the best players of all-time, and his daughter died in a January 2020 helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

On Wednesday, a 160-pound bronze statue depicting the pair wearing basketball uniforms and sharing a loving glance was erected at the crash site.

The sculptor, Dan Medina, greeted fans who hiked to pay their respects to the sports legend and his daughter.

"This is all on my own, no one asked me to do it," said Mr Medina. "On this day, the second anniversary of the accident, I decided to bring it up from sunrise to sunset and create a bit of a healing process for fans.

"Today was special because I witnessed a lot of that. People would come up and they would leave with some sort of satisfaction."

The names of all nine victims of the fatal crash, which happened during foggy weather in the morning of January 26, 2020, is engraved on the statue’s pedestal.

It also includes an inscription of Bryant's famous quote: "Heroes come and go, but legends are forever."

A five-time NBA champion during his 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant's death aged just 41 shocked the world.

Gigi was only 13 at the time of the crash, which occurred as they were headed to a youth basketball tournament.

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Among the fans paying their respects on Wednesday was Nicole Szuch-Dinets of Woodland Hills, a district of Los Angeles.

"I remember when this happened. We live close and we could hear the helicopter," she said.

"And then it popped up on my phone and we didn't believe it. So I wanted to come out of respect and I thought this statue is beautiful."

Moving tributes to Bryant by his friends, fans and former teammates were paid on social media on the anniversary on Wednesday.

"I know many of you are out there and you miss him and still wish to see his brilliance on the court, and what he was doing as a dad," former Lakers player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said of Bryant, who was the father of four girls and husband to Vanessa.

"It was wonderful the way he was coaching girls and getting them into the game. I hope all of you out there remember him the way you should and give your prayers to his wife and family."

© Evening Standard

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