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Lakers: Anaheim’s newest court commemorates Gianna and Kobe Bryant

PUBLISHED May 1, 2022 | News

What Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant meant to the game of basketball cannot be described in enough detail. Simply put, the five-time champion was bigger than basketball, whose daughter Gianna loved the sport every bit as much as her papa did.

Prior to the tragic incident that took nine lives in January 2020, Gianna was doing all she could to follow in Kobe’s footsteps. She was chock full of potential and was coached by none other than her Hall of Fame dad.

Needless to say, what could have been in terms of Gianna will sadly never be known. In addition, the overall dent Kobe could have made post his basketball life will never be fully known, either.

What is undeniable, though, is that the two were just about as inseparable as can be. They not only both had a zest for the game of basketball but gave their absolute all in every endeavor they embarked upon. That is truly the Mamba and Mambacita way.

Their close bond and commitment to excellence have inspired many to this day to likewise live their lives to the fullest extent possible. While Kobe and Gigi Bryant will forever be missed, what they meant to others continues to be commemorated.

The latest example of this recently came within the confines of Orange County, California. According to Alicia Robinson of The Orange County Register, Anaheim’s Pearson Park opened up a breathtaking “Dream Court” that pays tribute to Kobe and his daughter.

Quite frankly, the term breathtaking feels like a vast understatement when attempting to illustrate how gorgeous the court is. The playing surface is anything but ordinary. For starters, Robinson noted that the court is adorned with purple and gold tiles, the same hues that have been associated with the Lakers for ages.

At center court lies a white circle encompassed by purple butterflies, containing Kobe and Gianna’s names. However, what is perhaps the most beautiful part of the newly opened facility is what is on one of the sidelines.

Via Corey Hansford of Lakers Nation, the site also features a mural molded into the shape of a butterfly. The spectacle displays the smiling countenances of Kobe and Gianna and was created by artist Brian Peterson. The following picture (per @kobemurals of Twitter) proves just how eye-popping the court really is.

Hansford went on to share that the project was a by-product of what could not have been a better partnership. Perhaps to no surprise, one organization that helped make it happen was a foundation started by the Bryant family, the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation. The court was also kindly funded by Nancy Lieberman Charities.

Lieberman’s non-profit has been rather generous in the past as well and has contributed to similar ventures. Robinson’s article noted that Lieberman’s charity has helped build over 100 “dream courts” throughout the nation.

According to ABC7.com, the basketball court was released to the public this past Sunday (May 1). The same report details that the court was unveiled on what would have been Gianna’s 16th birthday.

One of the individuals in attendance for the court’s grand opening was Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu. The mayor gave the following statement in reference to Pearson Park’s newest attraction (via abc7.com).

“The Bryant family has always had a special tie to Anaheim,” said Mayor Harry Sidhu in a statement. “This court is a lasting legacy of that connection and will introduce a new generation of Anaheim kids to the joy of basketball. We are honored, too, that this court in the heart of our city will inspire girls and women with the amazing contributions to the sport by Nancy Lieberman and her foundation. On behalf of our city, I can’t wait to see the kids of Anaheim go hard in the paint on this incredible court.”

The donation of the court is an incredible gesture by all parties involved. It showcases a genuine desire to help those within the community who may not always be thought about. Moreover, it gives people an outlet to play basketball, and as indicated by Sidhu, the opportunity to experience the thrill of the game.

There is no better way to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant.

Albeit the losses of Kobe, Gianna, and the seven others still stings mightily, it is encouraging to see the tributes that are still pouring in. It is clear that folks like Vanessa Bryant are doing all they can to honor Kobe because the all-time great did so much to help others out. Whether from near or from afar, Kobe never shied away from sharing his time, knowledge, and resources for the greater good.

As a result, there is no doubt in my mind that Kobe and Gigi are smiling brightly from up above. This new court serves as an extension of the impact they had in their time here on earth and what the power of a community can do when they put their minds together.

In a perfect world, one can only hope that members of the city of Anaheim will not only be able to experience the court in all of its glory. Ideally, let us also hope that the court’s unveiling will similarly cause others to want to give back.

Kobe Bryant gave everything he had in the tank day in and day out. This dazzling court is a true reminder of the imprint he left behind and that life is best lived when others are put first.