Two years since the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, there is now a memoir at the helicopter crash site in Calabasas, California. A bronze statue has been placed at the site in honour of the two. In the statue, sculpted by Dan Medina, Kobe is in his LA Lakers uniform and has a hand on Gianna’s shoulder. Gianna is also in her uniform with a basketball in her hand. Both of them are smiling in the statue.
The statue not only pays tribute to Kobe and Gianna but has the names of the other seven victims of the January 26, 2020 crash as well. John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser; Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton; and pilot Ara Zobayan are the names along with the Bryants are the names inscribed in the base of the statue.
The sculptor Medina told NBC Los Angeles that it was a 160-pound statue and he brought to a hilltop in Calabasas at 4am on Wednesday. He added that it will stay there temporarily.
In an interview with the LA Times, Medina said, “You come up here and it is kind of emotional. The flowers, the jerseys, the hats blow away, and I think we need something more permanent.”
The base also has inscribed, “Heroes come and go but legends are forever”.
Medina, who is preparing a life-version of the statue, is aware that placing the statue permanently in the hills will require permission.
“I kind of want to follow the law, respect the locals, respect the Santa Monica Mountains,” he said. He added that he is hoping the bigger status can be kept somewhere in downtown LA.
Last year in November, it was announced that the relatives of people who perished in the helicopter crash will receive 2.5 million dollars in compensation over graphic photos of the accident that were snapped surreptitiously by sheriff’s deputies and firefighters. The settlement, agreed by Los Angeles County, does not apply to the widow of the NBA legend, who is also suing over those unauthorized pictures.
The only people authorized to take pictures of the scene were investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the coroner’s office. But it emerged that deputies and firefighters working for Los Angeles County also took pictures on their phones and shared them with others.
Families of the victims sued the county for emotional trauma.
On January 26 two years ago, a helicopter was carrying the Bryant and seven others towards a girls’ basketball tournament that the 13-year-old Gianna was to play in. Amid foggy error and pilot error, according to the federal safety officials, it crashed in the hills west of LA.