The public is invited to attend the official unveiling and dedication of an original mural of Lakers legend and icon Kobe Bryant on Saturday, August 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the 1020 Mission Street complex in the City of South Pasadena, followed by an after-party with live music through 8 p.m.
Painted by renowned artist Jonas Never and based on award-winning sports photographer Andrew D. Bernstein’s photo of Kobe’s final moments on the court as a Laker, the approximately 15-by-15-foot mural is a joint project commissioned by building owner Thano Adamson of Mission Tile West and tenant Bernstein, co-sponsored by the South Pasadena Arts Council (SPARC).
“I had the honor and privilege of documenting Kobe Bryant’s entire 20-year career as the Lakers’ team photographer,” Bernstein said. “The shock and tragedy of losing him and his daughter, Gigi, will stay with me and so many of us forever. The beautiful mural that artist Jonas Never has created, inspired by my last photo of Kobe walking off the court, is a tribute to Kobe’s legacy and a focal point for South Pasadena and the arts in our city.”
Due to COVID restrictions limiting public gatherings, the mural was privately unveiled in April to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Kobe’s final game. It was decided that the public unveiling of the mural would occur on August 21, a special date chosen near what would have been the Laker legend’s 43rd birthday and coinciding with the daylong Al Fresco event presented by the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.
“SPARC is pleased to host the public unveiling of this moving tribute to Kobe Bryant,” said the organization’s founder, Lissa Reynolds. “My husband James and I have always been huge fans of Kobe and I watched almost daily as Jonas Never painted the mural and I was so touched,” Reynolds said. “Jonas has brought Kobe’s presence so vividly to life.”
Throughout the event, live music will be performed by the Jaz Sawyer Trio. Beverages and food may be purchased from the popular Wings N’ Waffles Food Truck. A limited number of posters of the mural signed by the artist and photographer Bernstein will be offered to those who make a donation to SPARC during the event.
This is an open-air event; however, due to the growing increase in COVID infections, masks are strongly suggested, regardless of vaccination status.