CALIFORNIA (NewsNation Now) — As the anniversary of retired NBA star, Kobe Bryant’s death nears artists around the world are working to memorialize his legacy.
On Jan. 26, 2020, Bryant, 41, an 18-time National Basketball Association all-star, was traveling with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna; John Altobelli, 56, his wife Keri Altobelli, 46, their daughter Alyssa Altobelli, 14; Christina Mauser, 38; Sarah Chester, 45, her daughter Payton Chester, 13; and pilot Ara Zobayan, 50, to a youth basketball tournament when their helicopter plunged into a steep hillside in the dense morning fog in Southern California, which prompted an outpouring of shock and grief from sports fans worldwide.
Positive and inspirational images and messages have been spreading through artists’ work to honor the former Los Angeles Lakers star. Like so many other graffiti artists, Tehrell Porter, 30, has poured his grief over Kobe into his artwork.
“If there’s anything that you want to do great, if you want to be great, you can always refer back to Kobe Bryant, you have to,” Porter said.
Porter’s latest work is a massive commissioned piece on a building not far from the Staples Center. It’s among hundreds of murals being tracked by fellow Lakers fan Mike Asner, who channeled his grief by creating kobemural.com, which lists locations of all Kobe and Gianna Bryant art murals around the world.
“It really is just an interactive map, and information and city guides just to make this process easier for fans to find them,” Asner explained.
To date, there are more than 400 murals and almost half aren’t located near Los Angeles.
“Seeing these murals in every corner of the world, in areas that I never thought Kobe would reach and have an impact, I’m no longer amazed anymore; it’s a global thing going on with his ‘Mamba Mentality,’ it’s worldwide. ” Asner said.
While many new murals are popping up in Southern California, one was recently created this week in Birmingham, Alabama.
“It gave me a sense of purpose. It made me feel like I’m doing something for the youth. Because I believe a person’s job in life is to inspire, said artist A. Nichel, who created the mural.
The Kobe inspiration also includes his work ethic.
“Just painting the mural, I’m literally out here for about 16 hours, sometimes 23 hours, so just going back and forth is like him going back to the gym all the time. I’m going back (to the mural) doing what I love, too,” Porter said.
Some of the murals take days or even months, and while many aren’t commissioned, most convey love, joy, and strength.
“It really doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you do or what your upbringing was, there is something you can apply from what (Kobe) taught us and apply it to your life, to constantly push through adversity to get through these challenging times that we all face in our lives.” Asner said.
Artists like Porter are hopeful that seeing the murals might bring some comfort and the Lakers Nation and the many people who still mourn Kobe’s loss.
“When (people) look at the mural, just want them to be inspired, to always remember to have that ‘Mamba Mentality’ if you’re not really feeling it that day,” Porter said.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said on Wednesday it would hold a hearing on Feb. 9 to determine the probable cause of the January 2020 helicopter crash.
The board said in June the pilot of the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter that crashed outside Los Angeles into hilly terrain likely became disoriented in the fog.
Reuters and NewsNation affiliate contributed to this report.