Two years to the day after nine people, including Kobe and Gianna Bryant, were killed in a helicopter crash, a Los Angeles sculptor placed a statue of the basketball superstar and his daughter at the hillside site where they died.
Artist Dan Medina, of West Hills, said he brought the 160-pound bronze statue with him on a 4 a.m. hike to the crash site in the hills above Calabasas. Bryant and 13-year-old Gianna were among nine killed when a helicopter went down at the location northwest of Los Angeles on the foggy morning of Jan. 26, 2020.
The artwork depicts the Lakers legend with his arm around his daughter as she holds a ball. Both are wearing basketball uniforms.
Medina added the names of all nine helicopter crash victims to the base of the statue. They are Christina Mauser, who helped coach a girls’ team with Bryant; Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, also a basketball player; Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, another team member; and the helicopter pilot, Ara Zobayan,
It includes the words, “Heroes come and go, but legends are forever.”
Since its placement on the crash site, fans have been leaving pictures, flowers and cards at its base.
All across L.A., fans dedicate more murals, shrines and pieces of art to honor Bryant’s enduring legacy.
“We’re keeping his memory alive,” said fan Keyaria Allen. “[We’re] making sure the young ones still know about Kobe.”
The statue is a smaller version of a statue that Medina has at his studio. He plans to remove the statue at sunset, Medina told TMZ Sports.
The helicopter was flying the young basketball players and family members to a girls basketball tournament when it crashed into the hillside.
The group, which formed a bond through sports, was on its way to a the Mamba Sports Academy in Newbury Park. The Sikorsky S-76B left John Wayne Airport in Orange County just after 9 a.m., then made a U-turn in the Calabasas area, climbed and then made a steep descent.
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Source: NBC Los Angeles