‘Hope That I Did Him Justice’ Artist Opens Up About Drawing the New Kobe Bryant Mural

Published 04/14/2021, 4:00 PM EDT
During the National Anthem Lakers Kobe Bryant points to upward honoring Lakers owner Jerry Buss at the Staples Center Wednesday. Dr. Jerry Buss, died Monday of cancer at age 80. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of the last game that Lakers legend Kobe Bryant played in the NBA. While other stars bow out of the game with some reduced minutes on the floor, Kobe absolutely put on a show in his last game with the Lakers.

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Playing against the Utah Jazz, the 2-time Finals MVP absolutely unleashed all of his scoring prowess. A 37-year-old Bryant scored a whooping 60 points, making 22 of his 50 attempted shots. Later he said, “Mamba Out” as he bowed out of the game. Till date, it remains as one of most iconic moments the league has witnessed.

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Artist speaks about his Kobe Bryant tribute

To commemorate this special performance by Bryant, photographer Andrew Bernstein captured one of the most iconic images of Bryant as he stepped away from the court after his last game.

Bernstein later collaborated with artist Jonas Never to create a mural for this iconic picture. To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the game, the mural was finally unveiled yesterday.

 

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A post shared by Jonas Never (@never1959)

Both Bernstein and Never recently made an appearance at ESPN’s SportsCenter. There, the 39-year-old muralist spoke about how proud he was to be a part of the project.

“It was just an absolute honor to be chosen to do it. Like Andy got amazing photos of Kobe during his whole career. I painted Kobe a few times, but I’ve never actually gotten to work side by side with the photographer on a project. So is one of those like ‘only in LA’ moments. I’m just proud to be a part of it.”

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When asked about how he hopes Kobe would have reacted to his latest work, Never understandably was humbled by the same. He said, “I hope that I did him justice, and that he was proud of the hours I put in. I mean, everyone talks about Mamba mentality, and I can’t play basketball at all, but hopefully I can apply it to paint and then put in a long day for that.”

LA absolutely adored Kobe, and this mural joins the list of the countless tributes the city has had for their legend. What do you think about this latest tribute to the ‘Black Mamba‘?

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Aditya Mohapatra

695 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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