I’m still in disbelief that I live in a world without Kobe Bryant. He started playing when I was 4 years old; he’s been a fixture of basketball for pretty much my entire life. If he wasn’t playing the sport then he was on ESPN talking it. I wasn’t even a huge Lakers fan growing up but this shit still hurts. The senseless tragedy of it just punches you in the gut. If it feels like the entire world is grieving the loss of Kobe Bryant, well, that’s because it is.
ABC News is reporting that a mural has popped up in Mid-City Los Angeles less than 24 hours after the tragic loss of Bryant. The mural depicts Kobe and his daughter Gianna with the words “Kobe & Gigi Forever. Daddy’s Girl.” Bryant was an icon in the city of Los Angeles, having spent all 20 years of his career playing for the Lakers. Yesterday after news of his passing broke, hundreds stood outside the Staples Center to pay respects to the man.
Tributes like the one above have been popping up around the nation. In Boston at Central Square, a mural was painted depicting Kobe and Gianna. In New York, a makeshift sign went up renaming Bryant Park, Kobe Bryant Park. Even in the digital realm, NBA 2k20 published a tribute on its menu screen and multiple videos have been posted across Twitter of players online taking 24-second shot clock violations and gathering in the virtual neighborhood in Lakers attire.
The outpouring of love hasn’t just been limited to the states. In the Philippines, the Uptown Bonifacio mall lit its towers up in honor of Kobe. Additionally, a mural is currently being painted at the Tenement basketball court in Manila depicting Kobe and Gianna.
If this tragedy has proven anything, it’s that Kobe was both a local hero and a global icon. His name is synonymous with the sport of basketball worldwide. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is only the first wave of tributes we’ll see throughout the week.