Kobe and Gianna Bryant

LA Gym Owner Said Kobe And Gianna Mural Saved In 'Disrespectful' Way

Home / Stars / LA Gym Owner Said Kobe And Gianna Mural Saved In 'Disrespectful' Way

By Melanie VanDerveer on October 30, 2023 at 7:45 AM EDT

There's a temporary happy ending in the fight to keep a Kobe and Gianna Bryant mural on a downtown Los Angeles gym wall. And while there's happiness about the mural staying, there's also some disappointment on how the situation was handled.

The mural, painted by artist Louie Palsino, honors the life of NBA legend Kobe and his daughter Gianna. It graces the wall of Hardcore Fitness located at 400 W. Pico Blvd. in downtown L.A. Being only blocks away from the Crypto.com Arena, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, the mural is visited often and loved by many. When the landlord threatened to have it taken down, gym owner Cecelia Moran took to social media looking for help.

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Gym Owner And Mural Artist Shared Information About The Mural's Possible Removal

Last month, Moran shared news on the gym's Instagram page that the mural must be removed by September 30.

"With profound sadness, I must share that today, I received notice from my landlord that I must remove the Kobe and LA mural from our walls by September 30," she wrote. "This mural holds immense significance, not only for the city of LA and Lakers fans, but more importantly, as a tribute to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi."

Moran went on to explain that she is "strongly" opposed to the mural being removed and that she's "overwhelmed with sorrow."

Palsino also shared his sadness for the possibility of the mural being removed on his Instagram page.

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"I put countless hours of my time to make this painting for the people Kobe n Gigi inspired and impacted their lives. This painting is known worldwide and loved. This has become a memorial for Kobe and Gigi," he wrote. "This mural is a Los Angeles landmark. I hope we can all come together and fight for this cause without sticking together n fighting for what is right we will always be wrong."

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A Petition Was Started To Fight The Mural's Removal

Kobe and Gianna Bryant Mural

On September 14, a petition was started on Change.org in the hopes of getting enough attention so that a solution could be found to keep the mural where it is.

"We are saddened by the recent decision to remove a beloved mural honoring Kobe and Gianna Bryant in Downtown Los Angeles. We believe that this mural serves as a powerful symbol of inspiration, unity, and resilience for our city," a description on the petition page reads. "Therefore, we urge the landlord owner to reconsider their decision and keep this meaningful tribute intact."

To date, more than 90,000 signatures filled the petition and many left messages about the importance of the mural.

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"This mural is now part of our history. Part of Los Angeles. It's served as a place for paying our respect to Kobe and Gianna and should be protected," one person wrote. Another added, "This is heartless! How could you even THINK about removing something honoring Kobe and his daughter? To put up advertising? Get a billboard!! This needs to stay!! PERIOD!"

Vanessa Bryant also took to Instagram to share the news of the petition.

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Vanessa Bryant
Vanessa Bryant - Instagram

The Mural Has Been Saved For At Least A Year But In A 'Disrespectful' Way

Last week, it was announced that the mural will stay until at least October 26, 2024.

Ronnie Singh, the head of lifestyle and content marketing at 2K, announced last week on ESPN's "NBA Today" that the company reached an agreement with the landlord to keep the mural.

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Singh, also known as Ronnie 2K, held a rededication ceremony near the mural on Thursday and told reporters and fans why the company felt the need to preserve the mural.

"For weeks and months, people have lined up in front of this beautiful mural, taking pictures. For us to be a part of saving this thing is just a celebration of basketball," Singh said, according to USA Today. "This one means a lot to our community. It's basketball-related. It's Kobe Bryant. Our cover star for NBA 2K24 is Kobe Bryant. It made sense for us to get involved. We felt a moral responsibility to jump in and say, 'We want to make a difference.' Not words, but actions."

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The mural was saved thanks to a "philanthropic donation" that 2K Games made to the landlord. While Singh couldn't reveal details of the donation and agreement, he said the mural is safe until at least October 26, 2024.

Moran and other owners of Hardcore Fitness were not in attendance at the rededication ceremony. Moran took to Instagram to explain her frustration with how this was handled by Singh.

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"I wanted to address the recent controversy surrounding the mural of 'Kobe & Gigi' on our walls. Just to clarify, this mural was created as a memorial of Kobe & Gigi, not for any kind of publicity that's currently going around," she wrote on Instagram. "I found the interview of @ronnie2k with the NBA Today very disrespectful to all the hard work I've put into this as well as to the 90,720 signatures we collected."

She went on to explain that the mural was saved twice but her negotiations were sabotaged twice by Singh. She also said she does not support their actions or how they handled it all.

"I DO NOT support their actions or the way they handled things," she wrote. "Walking over or using a small business Mr. Ronnie Singh is simply NOT okay."

Moran wanted to point out the "true heroes" and thank them for all they have done for others.

"The true heroes are the 90,720 people who signed the petition," she wrote. "I want to extend my gratitude to Vanessa Bryant for her help in raising signatures, as well as to everyone who shared and reposted the petition link, and the reporters who have been following this news."

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