The unveiling of Kobe Bryant’s statue by the Los Angeles Lakers was a momentous occasion, celebrating the legacy of one of basketball’s most revered figures. Kobe, known as the Black Mamba, left an indelible mark on the game and the franchise, spending two decades dazzling fans and accumulating accolades.
The ceremony, highlighted by Vanessa Bryant’s announcement of three statues in his honor, set the stage for a discussion that’s on every Los Angeles Lakers fan’s mind: after Kobe, which Lakers legend deserves to be immortalized next outside the Crypto Arena?
A Legacy Cast in Bronze
Kobe Bryant’s statue, capturing his triumphant walk off the court after his career-high 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors, stands as a testament to his greatness. Surrounded by former teammates and legends of the game, the ceremony was a fitting tribute to a player who embodied the spirit of the Los Angeles Lakers. The presence of basketball giants like Phil Jackson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Jeanie Buss, along with heartfelt speeches, underscored the impact Kobe had on the game and the community.
As we reflect on Kobe’s contributions, the question arises: who will join the esteemed ranks of Los Angeles Lakers legends like Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Elgin Baylor, all of whom have been honored with statues? The criteria for such an honor are stringent, focusing on a player’s contributions to the franchise’s storied history.
KOBE BRYANT’S 10 RULES
1. Get better every single day
2. Prove them wrong
3. Work on your weaknesses
4. Execute what you practiced
5. Learn from greatness
6. Learn from wins and losses
7. Practice mindfulness
8. Be ambitious
9. Believe in your team
10. Learn storytelling pic.twitter.com/kYs0Bc5wt4
— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) February 10, 2024
Contenders for the Next Statue
Several names come to mind when considering the next Los Angeles Lakers legend to be immortalized. Pau Gasol, with his pivotal role in the Lakers’ back-to-back championship wins in 2009 and 2010, is a strong candidate. His jersey retirement ceremony earlier this year highlighted his significant contributions to the team’s success.
James Worthy, another Los Angeles Lakers icon, presents a compelling case for statue consideration. With three NBA championships, seven All-Star appearances, and a Finals MVP award, Worthy’s career with the Los Angeles Lakers was nothing short of legendary. His dedication to the franchise and respect among fans make him a prime candidate.
The debate around LeBron James is more nuanced. Despite his relatively short tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron’s impact is undeniable. With a championship in 2020 and breaking the all-time scoring record as a Laker, LeBron’s contributions to the franchise are significant. The opinions of legends like James Worthy and current teammates like Austin Reaves highlight the complexity of this decision. LeBron’s greatness is undisputed, but does his time with the Lakers warrant a statue?
The Road to Immortality for Los Angeles Lakers Legends
The decision to erect a statue is not taken lightly. It requires a thorough examination of a player’s contributions, both on and off the court. While Pau Gasol and James Worthy have cemented their legacies with the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James continues to add to his impressive resume. The debate will undoubtedly continue, with fans and experts weighing in on who should be the next to be immortalized outside the Crypto Arena.
As the Los Angeles Lakers move forward, the contributions of these legends will not be forgotten. The statues outside the arena serve as a reminder of the greatness that has defined the franchise. Whether it’s Gasol, Worthy, or LeBron, the next statue will undoubtedly be a fitting tribute to another Lakers legend, continuing the legacy of excellence that Kobe Bryant so brilliantly exemplified.