According to Tim Baysinger in The Wrap, a billboard advertising the cable television giant covered a mural in Fairfax in central L.A. that featured a painted Bryant, donning angel wings, converting on a layup with a basketball in his hands while contemporary NBA stars watch the former Laker.
Where there used to be a Kobe mural, there’s now an HBO billboard.
— patrick (@muldowney) June 16, 2020
HBO parent company WarnerMedia was contacted by The Wrap about the potentially controversial billboard placement, and referred them to Great Outdoor, the owner of the mural property. The spokesman said that the mural has not been destroyed:
“We actually commissioned the artist to paint this mural up there because we had a couple open months on it … This idea was all approved by the artist and we preserved the mural so in between ad campaigns the mural will be back. The artist told us that he will reach out to anyone that says anything to let them know that he approved this idea and he was trying to find a creative way to support Kobe’s foundation. This mural is owned by us and we are protecting it.”
Bryant, who tragically passed away along with his teenaged daughter Gianna and seven others on board a helicopter in Calabasas, California, in late-Jan. 2020, spent his entire two-decade-long NBA career with the Lakers. He won five championships as a pillar of the historic professional basketball franchise along with one league MVP award and 18 All-Star selections.
Bryant will be inducted on the first ballot to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame alongside then-rivals Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan in 2021, the exact date yet to be determined due to the coronavirus pandemic.