A myriad Kobe Bryant tributes have poured in following the tragic helicopter crash that took his life and the lives of eight others. Not all tributes have been well-received, with one mural being recently removed after numerous complaints were received from the community.
As reported by Black Indy Live, shortly after the death of Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, a local amateur artist in Indianapolis decided to put up a mural on the side of a gas station — 38 Street Smoke Shop. Although the artist is unknown, many believe it was a high school student.
In the mural, the Lakers legend is wearing his number 24 jersey with the team color purple on either side. He is depicted leaning on a basketball with his lips pursed and a large tuft of armpit hair on display.
The artwork quickly caught the attention of passersby who began sharing it online. Although some were impressed with how quickly the art was put up, the image was mostly shared on social media by people who were mocking the painting.
The jokes and the scrutiny began to pour in.
“You killed Kobe all over again,” one Facebook user wrote after sharing a photo.
“This is what happens when you spend more time on the armpit hair than the face,” a user wrote on Twitter.
After fielding complaints from residents and noticing the backlash online, a decision was made to remove the mural. It was covered over using purple paint and now all that remains visible is a light outline of Bryant.
— Leann Lawson (@Leann712) February 7, 2020
Not everybody supported the decision to remove the artwork. Among the numerous people who voiced their pleasure with the piece online was well-known local rapper Antonio Maxie.
He felt people were unfairly critical of the mural, and he respected the artist’s effort.
“It’s always [people] that can’t do some sh*t that’s critiquing others’ work!! STFU!! Y’all can’t even draw not along do graffiti. The Kobe wall definitely ain’t the coldest but damn at least they tried!! [People] will kill your spirit if you let [them],” he wrote in an impassioned Facebook post covered by Black Indy Live.
The rapper was not the only one defending this Kobe rendition.
“Not sure why everyone demands perfection. This artist tried to pay tribute to Kobe,” a person tweeted about the mural.
As reported by The Inquisitr, there will be a public memorial held at the Staples Center to honor Bryant, Gianna, and the seven others who lost their lives in the crash. It takes place February 24, a date that pays tribute (2/24) to both Gianna and Kobe’s jersey numbers.