Vanessa Bryant Helps Unveil New Basketball Court in West Philadelphia Designed to Honor Kobe, Gianna

by Bryan Fyalkowski

NBA legend Kobe Bryant grew up in West Philadelphia and was a frequent visitor to the Tustin Playground basketball courts. This week, Kobe’s widow Vanessa helped unveil a newly-designed court and surrounding murals that honor him and his late daughter Gianna.

Vanessa says this park was where her “husband’s love for basketball all began.” The Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation – in conjunction with many other charities – was able to make the dream come to reality.

“I chose this location so that young people in this community may have a safe space to play with equal opportunity. That was important to Kobe and Gianna,” Vanessa wrote in her post. “We are grateful to the City of Philadelphia and Mural Arts of Philadelphia for welcoming this project and helping to make it a reality.”

Kobe, Gianna and seven others died on January 26, 2020 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. There have been many murals of Kobe and Gianna created since then.

One of the new murals at Tustin Playground has the quote: “Dedication makes dreams come true.” Hopefully, this court can offer that opportunity for the next Gianna or Kobe Bryant to come out of West Philadelphia.

Vanessa with her three daughters – Natalia Bianka and Capri – continue to honor their lost family’s legacy.

New Look Playground in West Philly

The renovations include the famous purple and yellow color scheme of the Los Angeles Lakers. There is also a midcourt circle that features butterflies surrounding “Kobe & Gianna Bryant.” Around the court is a full-scale mural or a portrait of the two, as well as other designs.

6ABC Philadelphia spoke with two of the artists – Taqiy Muhammad and Gabe Tiberino – about how it felt for their work to be so well-received.

“That’s what we artists live for, basically,” Muhammad said.

“It was amazing for them to come out, and they really loved it,” Tiberino added.