Honoring Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Icon

kobe fan tribute

For the last month, basketball lovers around the world have paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven other people who lost their lives in a helicopter crash on January 26th. An especially iconic figure in Los Angeles, Kobe was an inspiration to athletes and fans everywhere. Let’s look back on some of the beautiful ways people have honored the late Lakers great Kobe Bryant in the last month.

LAX pylons lit purple and gold
Kobe Bryant tribute at LAX Gateway Pylons. Photo: Mayor Eric Garcetti, Facebook

Purple and Gold

In the days following the tragedy, landmarks across LA lit up in Lakers colors to honor Kobe Bryant. City Hall, Grand Park, Union Station, the LAX Gateway Pylons, The Forum, and more glowed purple and gold. Similar tributes could be seen in San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, and even Dubai.

kobe and gianna bryant mural
Kobe and Gianna Bryant mural painted by Mr. Brainwash. Photo: @impermanent_art, Instagram via Discover LA.

Nationwide Murals

Over the last month, artists have painted more than 150 murals in Los Angeles and beyond to honor Kobe and Gigi. Luckily, finding the many murals got a lot easier with the help of kobemural.com and their interactive map. Check out their site for addresses and photos.

Spike Lee Kobe tribute suit
Tonya Lewis Lee and Spike Lee arriving at the 92nd Academy Awards. Photo: Jay L. Clendenin, Los Angeles Times via LA Times.

Awards Shows

Just hours after the accident, Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men hosted the 62nd GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center. They opened the show with a performance of “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” in honor of Kobe and the others lost in the crash.

Two weeks later, the 92nd Academy Awards honored him at the beginning of their yearly In Memoriam segment. A photo of Kobe Bryant holding the Oscar he won for his animated short film “Dear Basketball” accompanied his quote: “Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going.” Legendary director Spike Lee wore a purple and gold Gucci suit embroidered with Kobe’s number as he presented the Oscar for Best Director to Bong Joon-ho.

Shaq speaking at Kobe Bryant's celebration of life
Shaquille O’Neal speaks during The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant. Photo: Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images via Deadline.

A Celebration of Life: Kobe & Gianna Bryant

The event took place on Monday at the STAPLES Center. The date, 2/24/20, honored Gianna and Kobe’s numbers, and his 20 years with the Lakers. 20,000 people attended the sold-old memorial and proceeds from ticket sales were donated to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. Performances by Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, and Christina Aguilera accompanied tearful eulogies from Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s fellow NBA legends Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal, and other friends and family.


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Featured photo: A memorial near STAPLES Center on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. Photo: Michael Owen Baker, AP Photo via Washington Times.

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