(LOS ANGELES)— A Los Angeles gym owner has until the end of the month to paint over a popular mural of Kobe Bryant on the side of her building.
Cecilia Moran, owner of Hardcore Fitness in downtown Los Angeles, is asking for community support after her landlord told her she needs to cover the mural so he can use the space for advertising. If she fails to do so, he said he will do it himself and bill her, Moran says. Masoud Omrani, Moran’s landlord and the building agent according to property records, could not be reached for comment.
The mural depicts basketball legend Kobe with angel wings looking down at his daughter Gianna. On Jan. 26, 2020, Kobe and Gianna were two of nine people killed in a helicopter crash.
The tribute takes up the entire exterior wall of Hardcore Fitness, located at 400 W. Pico Blvd. The gym is just a few blocks from the Crypto.com Arena (formerly the Staples Center), home to Bryant’s former team, the Los Angeles Lakers.
“[The mural] represents so much. Every single day people come to take pictures. We are in one of the biggest corners in L.A,” Moran told The Click. “It’s not hurting anybody.”
Artists had previously asked her if they could paint the wall outside her gym, Moran said. She declined until Louie Palsino proposed the tribute to Bryant.
“The artist is a die-hard fan of Kobe and the Lakers,” Moran said. “The majority of my members are die-hard fans, too.”
Palsino started painting on Jan. 31, 2020, just five days after the fatal helicopter crash. The mural took about a week to complete. Moran paid for all the supplies.
While Moran didn’t ask her landlord for permission before starting the mural, she says he knew about it and never objected.
Moran said every day since the mural was unveiled, Kobe Bryant fans have come by to take pictures with it. She said covering the mural would disappoint many people in the community.“I’m asking for support to be able to keep it. I don’t want to be quiet or silent,” Moran said.“Even if I get fined, I’m not going to be the person to take down the mural.”
Moran started a Change.org petition in the hopes her landlord will change his mind. In just three days, the petition has garnered almost 50,000 signatures and was shared by Kobe’s widow Vanessa Bryant on her Instagram story.
“Please sign this petition to save this beautiful Kobe and Gianna mural. Thank you.” Vanessa Bryant posted.