Striking mural on Filipino basketball court honors Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna

"Philippines, our infatuation with basketball is unmatched and we know how much Kobe enjoyed coming to this country," a mural organizer wrote on Instagram.
Image: A large drawing shows basketball legend Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna at a basketball court in Taguig, south of Manila
A large drawing shows basketball legend Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna at a basketball court in Taguig, south of Manila, on Jan. 29, 2020.Maria Tan / AFP - Getty Images

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By Natasha Roy

Artists in the Philippines have painted an enormous mural to honor Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.

The famed Tenement basketball court in Metro Manila, which includes the city of Manila and surrounding cities, is turning into a tribute to the late NBA star and his daughter, who died in a helicopter crash Sunday.

The Tenement Visual Artists have been working night and day to finish the mural, and others have stopped by to light candles, write personal messages and pay their respects.

"This is our tribute to them," Eddie Barbuena, the Tenement basketball team's coach, told ESPN. "We will always love you, Kobe Bryant."

Bryant was extremely popular across Asia, and especially in the Philippines, where basketball has been popular since the beginning U.S.'s occupation of the country in the 1890s, the Philippine Star points out. American teachers introduced baseball and basketball to Filipinos, and it became the country's most popular sport.

“Mr. Bryant was a frequent visitor in the Philippines,” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement. “He was well-loved by his Filipino fans.”

The Tenement Visual Artists regularly paint over its basketball court. Their murals have depicted a variety of images, from the Filipino fraternity Tau Gamma Phi to American rapper Jay-Z.

Mike Swift, an organizer of the Tenement’s murals, posted a photo to Instagram of the early stages of the tribute to Bryant and his daughter Monday, encouraging people to join.

“We will continue to mourn the loss, but more important is that we make sure the legacy of Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant lives in our hearts forever,” Swift wrote in different Instagram post. “Philippines, our infatuation with basketball is unmatched and we know how much Kobe enjoyed coming to this country. This is the least we can do at the Tenement to let the world know how much you mean to us Kobe!”

In addition to a painting, people wrote personal messages such as “Gone but never forgotten,” “Born to be super star” and “Legend will be legend.”

“We will be here 24 hours, feel free to drop by,” Swift wrote on Instagram. “We will be painting more tributes until the day of his burial.”