While awaiting the unveiling of Kobe Bryant's statue outside of Crypto.com Arena earlier today, we were given a piece of unexpected news—it's only the first of what will be three different statues celebrating the Los Angeles Lakers legend. One will celebrate the latter half of his career, during which he donned the number '24' and won two championships alongside Pau Gasol. Another will be in tandem with his beloved daughter Gianna "Gigi" Bryant. Those two will follow today's unveiled statue, commemorating the first half of his career wearing the number '8' and the apex of that part of his journey—his 81-point game.
The statue is a direct post from his iconic January 22, 2006 performance against the Toronto Raptors. At the conclusion of the game, Bryant walked off the court holding up his bandaged right index finger as the crowd acknowledged his achievement. On his feet, what would become known as the "81 Points" Nike Zoom Kobe 1.
While it's highly unlikely that anyone is disappointed by the statue, Bryant's wife Vanessa had a few words for those who had a different idea for the immortalized pose during her pre-unveiling speech.
"For the record, Kobe picked the pose you're about to see. So if anyone has any issues with it, tough shit."