On Thursday (Feb. 8), a ceremony was held in front of Crypto.com Arena for the unveiling of the highly anticipated Kobe Bryant statue. Just before peers and fans could witness the marvel, Kobe’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, took to the podium to deliver a rousing speech in honor of her late husband.

“It goes without saying, today is an especially sad day for us since Kobe and Gigi aren’t here for what is supposed to be an incredibly joyous moment in Kobe’s legacy,” she began after receiving a standing ovation from the crowd. “I want to thank you all for being here and showing your love and support for Kobe and our family. I’m thankful for all of the fans, including those watching and supporting from home.”

Vanessa continued, “Kobe has so many people that have supported him all over the world from the very beginning, and this moment isn’t just for Kobe. It’s for all of you who have been rooting for him all of these years. And to the fans here in LA: This is a special city Kobe was so proud to represent. You welcomed him with open arms and have been so important to him, our family and his legacy. It brings me joy to see how much love you have for all of us. We love you back.”

As far as the statue’s design, Vanessa made one thing very clear for any expected critics. “For the record, Kobe picked the pose you’re about to see. So if anyone has any issues with it, tough s**t,” she said as the audience responded with laughter. “It is what it is.” Vanessa also confirmed that the current statue is only one of three, as two others — one of which will also feature late daughter Gianna — will also be erected at the Lakers venue.