Over the weekend, artist Efren Andaluz (@andaluztheartist) began work on a tribute to Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gigi, who both died in a helicopter crash on January 26th along with 7 others.
The mural, which is going up across the street from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, will be finished today, Andaluz told Gothamist over the phone this morning. As he spoke, passersby kept stopping him to ask questions and have him pose in front of his work. While there have been many in Bryant's Los Angeles, this is the only known Kobe mural in New York City, and as word has gotten out more and more people have been coming by every day, Andaluz said.
The deaths "hit my heart," he told us. "And I'm a huge Lakers fan, not many New Yorkers are, but I am... you have to respect Kobe."
Kobe and Gigi were notably sitting courtside at a Nets game at the Barclays Center in December. As for how he chose the spot, Andaluz says he wanted to get started right away, so he went to Google Earth, searched around the venue, and started calling real estate agents and landlords. He eventually found a spot at the corner of Pacific and Flatbush, where the landlord is letting him leave the mural up for at least six months.
Over the past week, New York has seen some other tributes as well, including a makeshift "Kobe Bryant Park" sign at the 42nd St-Bryant Park subway stop; #MambaForever digital screens around town; and a tribute from both the Knicks and the Nets.
We'll update with more photos when the Brooklyn mural is finished.
Update: Here is the completed mural.