Kobe and Gianna Bryant Statue Placed at Helicopter Crash Site

Los Angeles sculptor Dan Medina honored the late Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant with a statue at the spot of the helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Wednesday, Jan. 26 marked the two-year anniversary of the Los Angeles Lakers legend's death. Gianna, baseball coach John Altobelli, five other passengers and the pilot were also killed.

Medina drove the 160-pound bronze statue of Bryant and Giana to the crash site on Wednesday, he told TMZ Sports. The statue will only be there temporarily, as he plans to take it back home at sunset. Medina said he hopes the city will allow him to install a larger, permanent statue at the site in the future.

The statue depicts Bryant and Gianna in their basketball uniforms, with Gianna holding a basketball. At the base of the statue, Medina added the names of all nine crash victims. "Heroes come and go, but legends are forever," reads the statue.

On Jan. 26, 2020, Bryant, Gianna and the other passengers were on their way from John Wayne Airport to Camarillo Airport when the helicopter crashed into the terrain. The passengers planned to attend an event at Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy, which is only a short drive from Camarillo Airport. Bryant was 41 and Gianna was 13. Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa Bryant, 39, and daughters Natalia, 19, Bianka, 5, and Capri, 2.

Many of Bryant's friends and family took to social media to remember him and Gianna two years after their deaths. His sister Sharia posted one of her brother's quotes, along with a picture of wristbands she wears with Bryant and Gianna's names printed on them.

"It's the one thing you can control. You are responsible for how people remember you – or don't," reads the Bryant quote Sharia shared. "So don't take it lightly. If you do it right, your game will live on in others. You'll be imitated and emulated by those you played with, those you played against and those who never saw you play at all. So leave everything on the court. Leave the game better than you found it. And when it comes time for you to leave, leave a legend."

Meanwhile, Vanessa is in the midst of an ongoing lawsuit against Los Angeles County over photos that Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies took of the crash site and shared amongst themselves. The county has insisted that the photos were never shared with the public. However, Vanessa's attorneys now claim that "close-up photos" of Bryant and Gianna were shared at least 28 different times. They claim the photos were shown to at least 12 firefighters.

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"These deputies and firefighters took the worst thing that has ever happened to me – the worst thing that could happen to any mother or spouse – and made it worse," Vanessa said in a December 2021 court filing. "I will never be able to shake the anguish from knowing that the officials who are supposed to keep us safe treated Kobe and Gianna with such callous disrespect. For the rest of my life, one of two things will happen: either close-up photos of my husband's and daughter's bodies will go viral online, or I will continue to live in fear of that happening."