Kobe Bryant is associated with the city of Los Angeles and rightfully so since that is where he played all 20 seasons of his illustrious NBA career. But Kobe ascent to stardom started in Philadelphia. Philly is where Bryant lived since he was 13-years-old and where he made a name for himself as a top high school basketball player. Sylvester Stallone believes that Kobe is such a Philly icon that he should have his own statue in the City of Brotherly Love right next to the Rocky statue.
There have been no shortage of tributes honoring the late great Kobe Bryant since his death just over a week ago in the horrible helicopter crash that killed nine, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Nearly all of the tributes have been symbolic and temporary, but Sylvester Stallone wants to make a permanent homage to the NBA legend. Stallone was asked by TMZ if he thought Kobe should have his own statue next to the Rocky Balboa sculpture at the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Stallone responded by saying, “Absolutely!”
A Kobe statue in Philly makes way more sense than a statue dedicated to a fictional movie character.
Sly Stallone also posted a tribute to Kobe on Instagram. “The world lost a great man and a great champion,” the Hollywood actor wrote. “I feel so bad for his family. Breaks my heart. Athlete, writer, innovator, role model, #OneOfAKind.”
Kobe attended Lower Merion High School, where he started on the varsity team as a freshman. In 1996 as a junior, Bryant won the Naismith Prep Player of the Year, named the Pennsylvania Player of the Year, and was First-team Parade All-American. In his senior year, he led the Lower Merion Aces to their first state championship in 53 years.
Following his death, fans created a shrine to Kobe at the Bryant gymnasium at Kobe’s alma mater, Lower Merion High School.
Lower Merion High School paid tribute to their fallen star by having a moment of silence that lasted for 33 seconds, which was Kobe’s jersey number at the school.
The high school unveiled Kobe’s jersey on Saturday with the help of Bryant’s cousin. Bryant’s high school jersey was stolen in 2017 and bought by a collector in China. The jersey was finally returned to the school last week.
Last week, the Philadelphia 76ers honored Bryant by shining nine rays of light on Kobe’s high school jersey for the nine victims of the tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. There was also 33 seconds of silence.
Kobe gave an interview in 1996 when he was 17-years-old, where he talked about how he wanted to be remembered at Lower Merion High School. “I don’t want to be remembered as just a basketball player,” the young Kobe said. “I want to be remembered as a smart kid, got great grades in school, was a nice person. Basketball is just icing on the cake.”