On January 26, 2020 the NBA and the rest of the basketball world was devastated by an epic and tragic loss. On that day, then-retired LA Laker and renowned “Black Mamba” Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in California. He was 41, and his daughter Gianna, a fellow casualty, was only 13. It was an abrupt end to a living legend of the sport and one of his children who possessed the potential to carry on the Bryant name as a basketball legacy. As the Philippines reached January 26, 2021 first, the country counts among the early commemorators of Kobe Bryant, with tributes in real life and online.
According to The Manila Bulletin, Filipinos true to their basketball fandom have poured out on social media to pay respects at the first year anniversary of the passing of Kobe Bryant. And some of these are live in the real world, or as much as can be allowed given health and safety protocols in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. One prominent spot is at the Tenement in Taguig, the central basketball court of which has been given over to a mural of Black Mamba and his daughter Gianna last year.
Said mural, the brainchild of Tenement Visual Artists (TVA), has seen new work with the latest art being rendered in traditional Lakers colors compared to the black-and-white from 2020. Public viewing was allowed by the TVA for Tuesday, from 8AM to 10PM according to their Facebook page, but will time extensions possible.
But as co-founder Jennifer Corpin says, all viewers must bring facemask and face-shield, alcohol or hand sanitizers and ID. They will be subject to temperature checks before being allowed onto the Tenement basketball court, strictly in batches of 10 at a time. And nobody under age 17 and over 60 will be allowed. Photo-shoots can only be done at courtside, but designated photographers can be asked to shoot aerial shots of the mural via visitor cameras or smartphones.
Elsewhere, Valenzuela 2nd District Rep. Eric Martinez will be headlining a tribute program the same day at the Karuhatan covered court, nicknamed the House of Kobe. The event will commemorate the placing of Black Mamba markers, an art exhibit, and the opening of “Gigi’s Crib” in honor of Gianna Bryant.
Image from Metro News Central