A bronze statue commemorating NBA icon Kobe Bryant and his teen daughter Gianna was placed Wednesday at the helicopter crash site near Los Angeles where they and seven others died two years ago.
The statue depicts the Bryants wearing basketball uniforms as Gianna holds Kobe’s hand. The one-day memorial was also engraved with the names of the other victims who died in the chopper that was en route to Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks.
The statue’s sculptor, Dan Medina, greeted fans who made the 1.3-mile hike in Calabasas to pay their respects to the Los Angeles Lakers legend. He told Reuters that “no one asked” him to do the project and he did it all on his own.
“On this day, the second anniversary of the accident, I decided to bring it up for the day from sunrise to sunset and create a bit of a healing process for fans,” he said.
“And today was special because I witnessed a lot of that. People would come up and they would leave with some sort of satisfaction knowing something is gonna be done.”
From public memorials to sneaker tributes, many fans and sports figures paid tribute to Bryant on Wednesday.
Among them, Lakers legend Magic Johnson said Bryant “left an incredible legacy both on the court and off. We will never forget.”
The helicopter crash has been a subject of lawsuits.
Lawyers for Vanessa Bryant sued Los Angeles County, claiming pictures of Kobe and Gianna’s bodies were passed around on LA County Sheriff’s Department devices and others belonging to firefighters. Vanessa Bryant and other plaintiffs settled their lawsuit against the company that operated the helicopter in the crash.