Lead Story Sports West Edition

L.A. prepares final tribute for Kobe Bryant

LOS ANGELES — As Los Angeles prepares to say goodbye to Kobe Bryant in a special memorial tribute Feb. 24, another large mural paying tribute to the Laker great has appeared in Watts.

A massive mural in honor of Bryant was unveiled Feb. 13, paying tribute not only to the Laker legend but his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and the seven other people who died in a Calabasas helicopter crash Jan. 26.

The mural in the 1500 block of East 103rd Street was created by artist PeQue Brown.

Covering a wall measuring roughly 65 feet by 28 feet, the mural includes multiple images of Bryant and the words “Heart of a Legend.” It also includes a quote from Bryant saying, “Great things come from hard work & perseverance. No excuses.”

“What inspired me is the man, Kobe Bryant, not just the basketball player,” Brown told KTLA5. “The man who was hard-working, who believed in perseverance and believed in making the people around him better.”

The mural also includes the names of all the victims of the helicopter crash.

On his Facebook page, the artist noted that City Councilmen Joe Buscaino and Herb Wesson helped expedite permits for the mural, while companies like The Home Depot and Lowe’s donated supplies, such as paint and a boom lift.

“In a little more than a week, we transformed the old Watts fire station wall from a worn, tattered mural wall to a tribute and celebration to the legacy of Kobe Bryant as well as a memorial to all who lost their lives in that tragic accident on Jan. 26th,” Brown wrote. “My hope is that this will be a true blessing and encouragement to all who see it; a healing for the community.”

He noted that nobody involved in the project was paid for their work.

The memorial tribute to Bryant will take place at Staples Center at 10 a.m. Feb. 24.

People wanting tickets to the tribute had to register online through Ticketmaster Feb. 17 and 18. On Feb. 18, those who registered received an email with an access code that was to be used to purchase tickets the next day or telling them they had been placed on a waiting list.

One report said that Ticketmaster received more then 90,000 requests for tickets. Staples Center has a capacity of around 20,000.

Tickets to the tribute were priced between $224 and $24.02. The ticket prices, along with the date of the event, are all in recognition of Bryant’s jersey number, 24, and Gianna’s number 2.

The tickets are non-transferable, meaning anyone entering the arena must enter with the purchaser of the tickets.

The ceremony will not be shown on any screens outside Staples Center or in L.A. Live, and there will be no overflow viewing locations outside the venue.

“Members of the public without tickets to the Celebration of Life are strongly advised by Staples Center and law enforcement not to come downtown near Staples Center or L.A. Live as fans without tickets will not be able to access the Staples Center site, L.A. Live site or adjacent streets,” the Lakers said in a statement.

Proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.

Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, disclosed that the name of the foundation had been changed to incorporate the memory of Gianna — “because there is no #24 without #2.”

“Our mission remains the same — and stronger than ever — to provide opportunities to young people through sports,” Vanessa Bryant wrote on her Instagram page. “Thank you for all the outpouring of support and your kind donations to date as we carry forth Kobe and Gigi’s legacy. We hope to empower young athletes in a world they left us all to help shape.”