By Emilie St. John
COMPTON – Vanessa Bryant celebrated the dedication of a refurbished outdoor basketball court in the memory of her late husband Kobe and daughter Gianna June 16.
On hand for the ceremony were retired WNBA star Lisa Leslie and Trae Young, a guard for the Atlanta Hawks.
“Thank you for showing up and showing out for our exclusive court reopening at Wilson Park in honor of Kobe and Gianna,” Bryant said. “Special thanks to artist Sloe Motions for the incredible mural and Lisa Leslie and Trae Young for being a big part of this special occasion.”
Bryant also thanked the donors who made the court possible.
“To our donors, you made this happen,” she said. “Every single dollar you’ve donated and merch you’ve purchased from the foundation goes toward our mission of creating positive impact for underserved athletes and boys and girls in sports.”
The refurbishment was made possible through a donation from BodyArmor valued at $67,000.
The court at Wilson Park is the 10th court the Mamba and Mambacita Foundation and BodyArmor have collaborated on. They have refurbished courts around the country with the first location being in Kobe’s hometown of Philadelphia, with another local court in Anaheim.
BodyArmor CEO Federico Muyshondt said this court was by far his favorite court to design.
“The meaning of what it means to be here in L.A. makes this extra special,” Muyshondt said. “This is the town that Kobe Bryant played in, it’s the city that he built.”
The court at Wilson Park began with a phone call from BodyArmor to the city last year after the company requested a list of parks from the city and selected Wilson Park, which is located in Councilman Andre Spicer’s district.
“I am super excited about the basketball court and the community is going to be amazed at how the basketball courts are going to look,” Spicer said. “My district is really starting to come together.”
When asked if the project will expand to other parks, he was optimistic.
“The goal is to build up all of our parks and we just so happened to get a grant from BodyArmor and they chose the park they wanted to donate to after we provided them a list,” Spicer added.
The court features murals of both Kobe and Gianna painted on the side of the park’s gymnasium with the court being painted in the Lakers purple and gold with their names etched into it.
According to an interview, Vanessa said the goal was to pay homage to Kobe’s basketball career through the courts.
“For years, we’ve been trying to build a basketball court in a public space in L.A. and we’re so thankful to council member (Andre) Spicer and Mayor (Emma) Sharif for allowing us to be included in your community,” Vanessa Bryant said.
Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at email@example.com.