They were put on sneakers, T-shirts, uniforms, sidewalks, scoreboards, buildings and basketball courts. They were even put in sand.
Tributes to former Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant sprung up everywhere after the world heard the news of his tragic passing in a horrific helicopter crash that also killed his daughter Gianna and seven others on Jan. 28.
RIP, Kobe. #8, #24.
Many tributes were unique, and were seen not only throughout the country but the world.
For instance, on Puri beach in eastern India, a sand sculpture by Indian artist Sudarsan Pattnaik was carved with the message: “RIP Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. We will miss you.”
In the Philippines, a mural of Kobe and Gianna was painted on a basketball court in a slum area of Taguig just hours after the crash.
In France, Brazilian soccer star Neymar scored a goal and celebrated by holding up two fingers on one hand and four on the other in honor of Bryant’s No. 24. Kobe was a big soccer fan.
In the States, murals were painted on walls and sidewalks. The Empire State Building was lit up in the Lakers colors of purple and gold, and other buildings with color lighting did the same.
At the Bryant Park subway station in New York, a sign saying 42nd St Bryant Park was covered up with a “Kobe” at the top as a tribute.
NBA teams paid tribute with moments of silence, as happened at many other sporting events, including the Super Bowl.
Several NBA teams opened games by one team taking a 24-second shot clock violation and the other following with an 8-second backcourt violation.
In an example of just how much Kobe meant to the NBA and the game of basketball, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban did the ultimate, retiring the No. 24 even though Kobe was a lifetime Laker. “Kobe’s legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick,” Cuban tweeted.
On change.org, a petition to make Kobe Bryant the new NBA Logo accumulated over 3 million signatures in the three days after it was posted. Former Lakers great Jerry West, known as “the logo” because of the silhouette of him dribbling, has long wished the NBA would change it, but the league apparently insists it isn’t him, that it is a generic image, and sources told NBC Sports that the NBA isn’t interested in a logo change. Yet, anyway. Perhaps it's time for a change.
Dave Strege is Editor of SCD. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.