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Oops: Typos in Kobe Statue Are Lakers’ Latest Mistakes

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The Lakers unveiled a bronze statue of Kobe Bryant on Feb. 8 — the first of three Bryant statues they plan to erect. But before they get started on the next one, they need to fix a few errors on this one — errors that are part of a surprising pattern of sloppy work by the team when it comes to commemorative displays.

The mistakes on the statue were brought to light yesterday by the German sportswriter André Voigt, whose tweet about the errors quickly went viral. Here are the three flaws he found:

  • The statue includes the box score from the Lakers’ 122-104 victory over the Raptors on Jan. 23, 2006, when Bryant scored a career-high 81 points. But the box score misspells Raptors player José Calderón’s surname as “Calderson”:
  • The mistakes aren’t limited to the Toronto squad. Lakers player Von Wafer’s name is also misspelled, as “Vom Wafer”:
  • And in yet another typo, the word “Decision” is misspelled as “Decicion.” This one is particularly egregious, because it appears right below the correctly spelled version:

In addition, several articles yesterday said that the statue includes “minor formatting errors” in a listing of Bryant’s career accomplishments, although it’s not clear to me what that is referring to.

The Lakers said they’ve “been aware of this for a few weeks” and will get the errors fixed soon.

This is the latest in a series of small but telling miscues that the Lakers have made over the past dozen years when commemorating their history. In 2013, they retired Shaquille O’Neal’s No. 34 but created a banner that showed his name and number on the front of the jersey, instead of the back (note the wishbone collar):

They eventually fixed that.

Another goof: In 2012 the Lakers unveiled a new court design featuring numbered stars to mark each of the team’s championships. But the stars had backwards apostrophes — a problem that wasn’t fixed until 2017:

Viewed in isolation, none of these things is a calamity. But when viewed together, they suggest a troubling pattern of inattention to detail. Pretty surprising coming from such a storied franchise.



ITEM! 25th-Anniversary Party Tickets Now Available

As you should all know by now, my final day with Uni Watch will be May 26, which is also Uni Watch’s 25th anniversary. We will have a big party that afternoon at the Bowery Electric in Manhattan, with the great hockey-rock band the Zambonis playing (plus a brief onstage appearance by comedian/accordionist Dave Hill, who I frankly don’t know anything about, but the Zambonis wanted him on the bill, so that’s good enough for me).

The event will run from 1-5pm. If you just want to hang out at the bar, no ticket is required — you can just show up. But if you want to see the Zambonis, who’ll be playing in the club’s downstairs space, you’ll need a ticket. Tix are now available here at the early-bird price of $10 (I believe that will later go up to $12 or $15). All proceeds will go to the band, not to Uni Watch. Hope to see you there!


Can of the Day

Looooove those elongated letterforms. And the dot on the “i” — hilarious!

Comments (30)

    Three statues and two retired numbers seem a bit excessive. There were bound to be mistakes.

    Well, no. If those five honors were for five different players we wouldn’t expect (or accept) any mistakes. The fact that they’re all for one player may indeed be excessive, but it has no bearing on the likelihood of mistakes.

    I agree about the excessiveness of all this Kobe worship. It’s unseemly and embarrassing.

    Agreed. His death and the death of Gianna was tragic, but this is reaching deity status and it is approaching pandering to the fanbase IMHO.

    I accept that I’m about to sound like the worst kind of person, but it’s the deification of Gianna that has always bothered me. The death of a child at such a young age is tragic and sad, but there were 7 other people on that flight, including 2 other young girls. Surely there was the expectation that Gianna would be an outstanding basketball player, but we’ll never know what her classmates may have done with their lives, athletically or otherwise. It’s a shame that they’ve been reduced to “also dead” status. Erecting a statue of Gianna perpetuates the narrative that having potential to be a top athlete – or just being the offspring of a top athlete – makes her death somehow more tragic than the others.

    I can see having 2 statues of him, since he played with 2 numbers.

    But 3? Getting a bit excessive. He’s not even the best player in franchise history.

    Is there a reason why they are making three statues of him? Seems excessive.
    You’d think there would have been like 5 or 6 levels of proof reading / copy editing prior to engraving on a statue. Yikes.

    >Is there a reason why they are making three statues of him? Seems excessive.
    Agreed. Contra, as best I know, there’s one statue of Willie Mays in San Francisco. There’s one statue of Jim Brown in Cleveland. Similarly, one statue of Maurice Richard in Montreal. I’m not saying that loads and loads of statues of one person is a bad thing. I just don’t understand it.

    Recency bias and milking fans for nostalgia and emotions. More instagrammable photo ops and, consequently, more team exposure and more profit. It’s so obvious.

    I’ve actually worked with a statue company to help design a historical statue in Harrisburg, PA.


    I’m not an artist, I’m a historian, so my job (along with many others) was to make sure that the historical details were accurate. (I specifically worked with the artists designing the relief map on the pedestal to make sure that any artistic license they took did not distort the historical meaning.) The amount of eyes that should be placed on a work of this magnitude makes this many mistakes all the more egregious.

    That’s a great post Drew and a fantastic display that you helped with…
    I only wish as many people who are seeing the Kobe statues would also go see the history that’s been offered to them, thanks

    Wow. That amount of error on the statue is surprising. Of course there is another big mistake the Lakers are guilty of. Having black as a trim colour on their purple uniforms.

    The numbers are full on black now too. My biggest pet peeve as a Lakers fan.

    Paul, what is the usual turn out for uni watch events in NYC? I’m not one for super crowded events, a more laid back atmosphere is my speed.
    I’m not a fan of going into NYC which is why I haven’t been to any events before, but given this is your retirement party I’m considering going to salute you along with others in the comm-uni-ty.

    It’s usually a few dozen people. Given that this is a big milestone and my final day, however, I don’t think past experience is necessarily an indicator of what will happen this time around.

    I’d love to meet you, Greg. Hope you come!

    I could be wrong, but didn’t the Lakers recently update the jerseys in the rafters to be era appropriate? Like within the last year or two? So it technically wouldn’t be mistake that’s been held up for a dozen years, not that that makes it much better or anything.

    I didn’t see “serial rapist” on there, either. Awesome to have a statue celebration such an individual in the first place. Misspell away!

    Those aren’t backwards apostrophes, they’re okinas. They’re just celebrating their Hawaiian championships.

    Part of what intrigues me about this is the format on the statue looks *a lot* like the official NBA box score printouts they hand out to media and teams at games. The font, the centered player numbers, where the officials’ names are, etc. It’s still common for these to be printed and handed out at semi-regular intervals to those who want/need them in press areas and on the bench. Here’s a sample of what they look like: link

    It makes me wonder about the process to get that information engraved.

    The mistakes likely wouldn’t be in the box scores themselves. That stuff is all connected to an NBA database that just pulls all the info as entered in the database. They’ve used that system for a good deal of time and the NCAA transitioned to a similar system a few years ago. (Disclosure: I filled in for the Bucks stat crew on occasion from 2018-20 and have been part of Marquette University’s stat crew since 2022).

    I am *hoping* someone didn’t just go through and manually re-type the box scores, but I suppose that’s possible.

    What I’m thinking might have happened, though, is they used some sort of character reader or scanner to read the info from either a paper printout or even a PDF. That may have misinterpreted some of the characters.

    From there, yeah, lack of oversight and proofreading and errors got through.

    The Lakers do not give a whole lot about their history, their former players or their fans. They take all of them for granted. As for 3 Kobe statues, that is pure overindulgence for the sake of selfies and putting the staues on merch. My guess is if Kobe was still alive he would have said: one will do, thank you.

    The Dunhill can typography matches the cigaretts packaging of the brand. Very elegant logo.

    Yes, very cool, simplicity is elegant…
    elongated letters remind me of matches and that “logo”, the white dot.. hilarious

    The decision to engrave the entire box score was a spelling disaster waiting to happen.

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