Community members are outraged after an iconic mural, depicting Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, both of whom were killed in a tragic helicopter crash in 2020, has been ordered to be removed by the end of September.
"It's been there for over three years, so why now?" asked Celicai Moran, the owner of Hardcore Fitness on W. Pico Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles, where the mural can be found. "I'm asking for help."
After learning that Moran was asked to remove the mural by her landlord, an online campaign was launched.
Sloe, the artist who painted the mural in 2020, after the Lakers won their most recent championship, spoke with KCAL News about what the artwork means, not only to him but to the City of Angels.
"It's a beautiful thing man," Sloe said, commenting on the fact that the area surrounding the mural is littered with graffiti and other vandalism, but the artwork remains untouched. "It speaks volumes on the meaning of that mural, man. Just the respect level it's gotten."
He says that it's not only a local landmark, but that he's heard of people traveling from all over to see his work.
"It's been great for business. People come from all around the world to see that mural," he said. "It's good for businesses surrounding it. Everything."
Moran says that the mural helped her attract enough business during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, allowing her to stay open with outdoor classes in front of the art.
"It represents so much for LA. It represents so much for Laker fans, Kobe fans," she said. "Also, a way to honor him as a show of respect for the Bryant family."
KCAL News spoke to the manager of the limited liability company that owns the property, but were told that they had no comment.
Moran is hopeful that the publicity the mural has attracted will be enough to make them change their mind.
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