Two years to the day after nine people, including Kobe and Gianna Bryant, were killed in a helicopter crash, a Los Angeles sculptor has placed a statue of the basketball superstar and his daughter at the site in hillside where they died.
Artist Dan Medina, from West Hills, said he brought the 160-pound bronze statue with him on a 4am hike to the crash site in the hills above from Calabasas. Bryant and Gianna, 13, were among nine killed when a helicopter crashed northwest of Los Angeles on the foggy morning of January 26, 2020.
The artwork depicts the Lakers legend with his arm around his daughter as she holds a ball. Both are wearing basketball uniforms.
Medina added the names of the nine victims of the helicopter crash to the base of the statue. They are Christina Mauser, who helped coach an all-girls team with Bryant; Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, also a basketball player; Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, another team member; and helicopter pilot, Ara Zobayan,
It includes the words “Heroes come and go, but legends are forever”.
Since its placement at the crash site, fans have left pictures, flowers and cards at its base.
Across Los Angeles, fans are dedicating more murals, shrines and artwork to honor Bryant’s lasting legacy.
“We keep his memory alive,” said fan Keyaria Allen. “[We’re] make sure young people still know about Kobe.”
The statue is a smaller version of a statue Medina has in his workshop. He plans to remove the statue at sunset, Medina told TMZ Sports.
The helicopter was transporting the young female basketball players and their family members to a women’s basketball tournament when it crashed into the hill.
The group, who bonded through sport, were on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy in Newbury Park. The Sikorsky S-76B departed John Wayne Airport in Orange County just after 9 a.m., then turned around in the Calabasas area, climbed and then made a steep descent.