Kobe and Gigi Bryant’s third Anniversary

Jordan Stephenson

South Bureau Chief

January 26 will shockingly mark three years since Kobe and Gigi were tragically killed in a helicopter crash, in Calabasas, California. All the people who were tragically killed in this helicopter crash were: Laker’s legend, Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christiana Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and lastly Ara Zonayan. 

Kobe was only 41 at the the time, and his daughter Gigi was only 13 when this unforeseen tragedy took place. I know firsthand that this is the type of sad tragedy that everyone will remember what they were doing when they heard the news that Kobe had died. The reason I say this is because I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing, when I heard the tragic news about Kobe and Gigi’s’ death. 

On February 24, 2020, there was a public memorial held for Kobe and Gianna Bryant, which turned into a sold-out memorial service. This memorial service took place at the downtown previously called Staples Center; now it has been been changed to the Crypto.com Arena. Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife, said in her speech at the memorial, “God knew that they couldn’t be on this earth without each other; He had to bring them home to have them together. Babe, you take care of Gigi.” She also said Kobe was “the MVP of girl dads.” 

This memorial service began with Beyoncé performing her famous songs, XO and Halo. During the eulogy, Vanessa predicted that Gianna could have become “the best player in the WNBA.” When she said that I pondered on it for a while, and then I totally agreed that Gigi could’ve become a great WNBA player because of her drive, her willingness to get better, mamba mentality, and Kobe. Some current and retired Hall of Fame players who attended were Stephen Curry, James Harden, Russel Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, Michael Jordan, etc. 

On the two-year anniversary of their tragic death, a statue of Kobe and his daughter Gigi, were placed at the site of the helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. This beautiful statue was created by Dan Medina, who is a California sculptor and artist. In this statue that Dan made, Kobe was in his Lakers uniform, while his arm was around his daughter Gigi, who was wearing her uniform, with a basketball by her side. Both Kobe and Gigi have big smiles, while looking at each other. 

Medina spoke with NBC Los Angeles and told them that he brought the 160-pound bronze statue on Wednesday, January 26th, 2022 at 4 a.m., to a Calabasas hilltop. The statue had the names of Kobe and Gigi, and all the other victim of the helicopter crash. All of these victims’ names were inscribed on the statue’s base. 

Many fans took photos of the statues, while also leaving flowers and other things at the crash site. Medina said to the Los Angeles Times, “You come here and it’s kind of emotional; the flowers, the jerseys, the hats blow away, and I think we need something more permanent.” He also said, “I kind of want to follow the law, respect the locals, respect the Santa Monica Mountains.” Medina said this statue is just a smaller version of the life-size sculpture that he is currently working on, and he hopes it can find a location in Downtown LA. I honestly feel like what Medina did to memorialize Kobe and Gigi was an awesome thing that all Kobe fans can be thankful for. Even though Kobe is sadly gone, I can guarantee you that, he’ll never ever be forgotten. 

Kobe and Gigi’s statue/Courtesy of NBC.com