Like ‘watching a superhero die in the flesh’: Local Lakers fan reacts to Kobe tribute mural on Guadalupe Street

Kobe Bryant Death

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A mural dedicated to the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi went up this week in Austin after they were both killed in a tragic helicopter crash in California Sunday.

The mural is located on the backside of the restaurant Sushi Hi located at the intersection of Guadalupe Street and 29th Street. It was created by Texas-based artist Laced and Found with help from artists Snuk One and Riki Loring.

“Kobe made an impact on so many generations. For Kobe’s fans in Austin, for those who loved him, looked up to him, were inspired by him, for those who made mistakes and did everything in their power to show others that they are more than their mistakes, for those who didn’t know anything about him but respected his legacy and him as a human,” the artist’s Instagram post about the mural said.

Local Laker fan reaction

28-year-old Austinite and lifelong Lakers fan Quitin Whitley stopped by the mural after dropping off his sister at school. He’s watched Kobe play since he was a kid. The news on Sunday hit him hard.

I was actually house shopping and it was supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life cause I’m transitioning into something really great. Kobe passing, it was just really sad. It took the air out of my whole day. I’m glad I have sun shades on right now because I’m tearing up just thinking about it.


When asked about his first reaction to the mural, Whitley said he’s “proud to be from Austin” for this to exist in the city he was born and raised.

“There’s a lot of stuff that’s been going on lately here that’s just not the best, but for us to come together and do something like this. It makes me super proud to be from Austin,” Whitley said.

  • Kobe mural
  • Kobe mural
  • Tribute Mural

He’s thankful for the art honoring his hero.

“He deserves it man,” Whitley said. “He was everybody’s idol, everybody’s mentor. And that’s the way I describe it to people when they ask me, ‘Why does this affect you so much?’ Just because like, when you don’t have somebody to look up to and then you can look up to Kobe Bryant and he’s just gone one day, it’s crazy man. It’s like watching Goku die. You know what I mean? It’s like watching a superhero die in the flesh.”

And when he learned about Gigi also being on the helicopter Sunday:

“That was like a second kind of knife in the back,” Whitley said. “If you watch basketball then you are very familiar with his daughter and very familiar with how far she was gonna push women’s sports in general, especially basketball. Not only did basketball take a hit. Women’s sports took a hit. Youth sports took a hit. The whole sports community took a huge hit with this one.”

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