California artist Dan Medina placed a 160-pound statue on the hill above Calabasas, California, at the site of where Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others lost their lives about two years ago on Jan. 26, 2020.

The news: The California artist put up a statue of Kobe Bryant with his arm around Gianna Bryant, who is holding a basketball.

  • The statue has all nine names of the other victims in the crash, including Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, John Altobelli, wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, and the pilot, Ara Zobayan.

Quote: “I’m not the biggest sports fan you’ll ever meet, but Kobe, for me, was bigger than basketball,” Medina told Today.com. “He was an (intellectual), he spoke multiple languages, he was an avid reader. I met people who said that he was maybe the surrogate father or surrogate guardian to their children because of the way he spoke.”

What happened: Kobe Bryant died suddenly on Jan. 26, 2020, in a helicopter crash. He and his daughter, Gianna Bryant on the way to one of her basketball games, as the Deseret News reported.

  • The crash ignited a brush fire, which made it difficult for emergency personnel to reach the crash site.
  • “For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. ... He will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement at the time.
  • “We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world.”