"There is no county line at which Kobe Bryant’s celebrity suddenly evaporates."
That's Vanessa Bryant's key argument as to why the court should REJECT a requested venue change in her wrongful death lawsuit -- claiming Kobe's legacy expands way beyond L.A.
As we previously reported, Island Express Helicopters and the estate for pilot Ara Zobayan had asked the court to move the case from L.A. to Orange County, arguing they couldn't get a fair trial in the city where the Lakers star played NBA ball for 20 years.
Now, Vanessa is firing back ... saying she lawfully selected L.A. as her venue because that's where the January 26th helicopter crash occurred -- and she's digging in her heels to keep it there.
Not only does Vanessa point out the Bryants have lived in Orange County for nearly 20 years and Kobe's "popularity there is just as strong as anywhere else" -- but she also claims it really doesn't matter where you go, Kobe is beloved all over the U.S.
"Defendant fails to acknowledge the extent to which Kobe Bryant’s legacy penetrates American culture," Vanessa's attorney states in new court docs obtained by TMZ Sports.
"There is no county line at which Kobe Bryant’s celebrity suddenly evaporates. Public esteem for Kobe Bryant is a fact of American life."
Vanessa is right about Kobe's popularity -- when he passed away back in January, tributes poured in from all over the world ... including Italy and Japan.