Statue of Kobe Bryant and Daughter Gianna erected at crash site
A Los Angeles sculptor on Wednesday marked the second anniversary of Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s death with a statue on the site of the helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
Dan Medina built the 160-pound statue of the NBA star and his 13-year-old daughter and erected it over the site of the crash that killed them and seven other people the morning of January 26, 2020. The statue depicts Bryant, in his Los Angeles Lakers uniform, placing his hand on his daughter’s shoulder and Gianna holding a basketball.
Medina inscribed on the statue’s base the names of all nine people who died. He also inscribed the phrase “Heroes come and go, but legends are forever.”
Medina told TMZ Sports that the statue was just a temporary tribute and said he planned to take it down by sundown. He did say, however, that he hopes the city will eventually allow him to put up a more permanent version of his art.
Kobe and Gianna were killed when their private helicopter crashed while they were traveling to a teen basketball tournament at Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy near Thousand Oaks, California.
Seven others died in the crash, as well: John Altobelli, a baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa; his wife, Keri Altobelli; their daughter, Alyssa Altobelli; Christina Mauser, an assistant Mamba Sports Academy basketball coach; Payton Chester, a player on the team; her mother, Sarah Chester; and Ara Zobayan, the pilot.
The US National Transportation Safety Board blamed pilot error for the crash. It said in its accident report that a series of poor decisions led to the pilot flying blindly into a wall of clouds where he became disoriented, which caused him to think the helicopter was climbing when, in fact, it was descending into the hill.
During a 20-year Hall of Fame career spent entirely with the Lakers, Bryant won five NBA championships, claimed the scoring title twice, earned 18-All Star selections and made 12 All-Defensive teams. He and his wife, Vanessa, had four children together: Gianna ‘Gigi,’ Natalia Giamante, Binka Bella and Capri Kobe.