California artist Dan Medina marked the 2019 crash site with a sculpture he made of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna
It’s really hard to believe that it’s been two years since the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others in the hills above Los Angeles. On Wednesday, before the sun rose, California artist Dan Medina carried a 160-pound sculpture to the site and placed it there, as his way of honoring all those who were lost that day.
The sculpture shows Kobe and Gianna standing next to one another. Kobe has his arm around his daughter, who is holding a basketball and gazing up at Kobe, in a tender moment with her dad.
At the base of the sculpture, Medina inscribed the names of all seven people who died in the crash: Christina Mauser; Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton; John Altobelli, wife Keri, and daughter Alyssa; and the pilot, Ara Zobayan.
Medina is only one of many people who have created tributes and memorials to Kobe in the two years since he died.
“I’m not the biggest sports fan you’ll ever meet, but Kobe, for me, was bigger than basketball,” the artist told TODAY. “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.”
Medina said that throughout Wednesday, fans hiked to the crash site to celebrate the sculpture and remember Kobe.
“I’ve had so many parents cry in my arms today,” he said.
Late Wednesday night, Medina hiked back up to the crash site and removed the sculpture. While he’d like it to be able to remain and mark the spot permanently, he said he didn’t want to break any city laws, which meant he could only keep it there for one day for now.