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A mural tribute to Kobe
Published on: Monday, February 24, 2020
By: Sherell Jeffrey
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KOTA KINABALU: It has been nearly a month since the tragic death of NBA star, Kobe Bryant, in a helicopter crash on Jan 26. 

Yet his remarkable talent has continued to earn him adoration from basketball fans across the globe, including street artists who painted murals in tribute to him and his daughter, Gianna, who was among eight other victims in the crash. 

One such mural can be found at the basketball court at Taman Kolombong, here. 

The mural is not only a tribute to the five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist but also a mother’s birthday gift to her son who is a die-hard fan of Bryant. 

Together, with help from her son’s childhood friend Angelo Sagoli Olid, they managed to paint a mural measuring nearly half the size of the basketball court in two weeks. 

On Jan 30, my son Andrew texted me asking if I could sketch a big painting of Kobe and his daughter,” said Clara Joan Wong, an English teacher at SRS Datuk Simon Fung in Kingfisher, near here. 

“Andrew said basketball saved his life and his icon was Kobe Bryant, so the day that Kobe died, it was like his life also went, his icon passed away. 

“He was so devastated that he kept asking me to draw Kobe Bryant. He even has a tattoo of Kobe on his chest,” she said. 

She said it took her a while to answer but three weeks ago on Friday, she came to the basketball court with her brush and started sketching. 

“Then on Saturday evening, I came back to continue sketching and that’s when I met Angelo who suggested that I use the grid system to make it better. I told him that I have no time for all these things and so he offered to help,” she said when met by Daily Express, here. 

“My basic sketch is nothing compared to what Angelo did, I just took a brush and did free- hand drawing,” she said. 

On Sunday, Angelo got all the other youths who were playing basketball at the court to help draw the grid and after drawing the grid, Angelo sketched out the main features of Gianna and Kobe. 

“I saw Andrew’s mother doing the basic sketch of the portrait and found that it wasn’t balanced, so I introduced the grid system to her,” said Angelo.

He said the grid system allows the artist to focus mainly on each little square, which will tell him or her exactly where to go. 

“It’s more accurate to use that method especially for a large-scale painting,” said the visual art technology UMS graduate who is now involved in multimedia, videos and animation production. 

“Andrew and I play basketball together. We are childhood friends. Andrew has played for tournaments, I play just out of love for the game, and we grew up together here. It’s nice to do something for a friend, while paying tribute to our icon,” he said. 

“Kobe Bryant has inspired a lot of people all over the world. I believe anybody who plays basketball will know him, his death is a shock, a shock to the whole world, this is a tribute to him,” he said. 

“I can say that Kobe Bryant inspired millions of people and I just want to paint this and inspire others as well, especially in this park. Hopefully there are others out there who will come and do some repairs on the park which is quite rundown,” he said. 

Clara agreed that the park needs repair. “It is so badly broken up. If Angelo can go out of his way to paint such a beautiful picture, I hope others, especially those in the working category, can also come and help to refurbish the basketball court which is in a really bad shape,” she said. 

The mural was given its final touches and completed on Feb 16 and Andrew got to celebrate his birthday at the basketball court with friends. ­


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