THE KOBE MURALS
For twenty years, Kobe Bryant wore a Lakers uniform. In that uniform, he won five championships, made eighteen all-star teams, fifteen All-NBA teams, All-Defense twelve times, won one league MVP, won two finals MVP, won four All-Star MVPs, and once scored eighty-one points in a single game.
He self-mythologized and self-applied the nickname, Black Mamba, was a peerless evangelist for hard work and maximum effort, and attained global celebrity. Kobe was, simply put, the ideal player for Los Angeles, a city that prizes – to almost obscene degrees – hard work, accomplishment, and celebrity. Through all his successes and in the many facets of his personality, he became a symbol to Angelenos of all that makes them and their city so singularly special. It was a dream relationship between athlete and city. So when he died suddenly in a helicopter crash on January 26th, 2020, along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others, it was tantamount to the loss of a soulmate.
In the year since, the city’s grief has been made manifest on its walls. Over two hundred murals have gone up since his passing, commemorating the many different ways in which Angelenos connect to the fallen star – his athleticism, his drive, his winning ways, his role as a father. Taken together, these murals represent an act of collective mourning and ongoing eulogizing unprecedented in the history of sports.