The video game company 2K Games, which features the late Lakers legend on the cover of "NBA 2K24," helped reach an agreement to save the beloved mural. Cecilia Moran, the gym's owner, told The Times in September that her landlord wanted the artwork removed by the end of the month so the space could be used for advertising. A Change.org petition to save the mural received more than 90,000 signatures.
Ronnie Singh, head of lifestyle and content marketing at 2K, announced his company's deal to help preserve the mural Monday on ESPN's "NBA Today." In a Zoom interview with The Times the same day, Singh said his company made "a philanthropic donation" to help seal the one-year agreement.
“We saw the petition, we saw how important it was for everyone, we had a discussion internally with our amazing marketing team and we’re like, ‘We gotta do something about this,’" Singh told The Times. "And then Vanessa [Bryant] posted about it. ... I’m like, ‘Yes! That’s the confirmation we need that this mural’s super important.’ And so when she posted about it, we sprung into action. We had several conversations with the landlord, the tenant, a lot of people in the community and just figured it out.”
A rededication ceremony will be held Thursday at 3 p.m. outside Hardcore Fitness at 400 W. Pico Blvd., just blocks away from Crypto.com Arena and hours before the Lakers home opener against the Phoenix Suns.
Singh told The Times that fans who attend the ceremony and visit the building will see the mural exactly the way Palsino painted it in the weeks following the Jan. 26, 2020, helicopter crash that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant and seven others.
“We wanted to maintain the mural in its iconic form," Singh said. "This is not about us getting a branding moment or anything like that, it was just important for us to do something for this mural that was about to be taken down. So no logo addition, nothing like that.”
The agreement runs through Oct. 31, 2024, Singh told The Times.
“We’d probably consider it again in a year," he said. "It’s possible but we’re hoping that some other brand is kind of inspired by it, this movement, and steps in next year. [One year is] what we could commit to with the landlord today, so what happens beyond that I can’t speak to. But I hope that it’s something that other brands kind of see and either want to participate in this one or participate in ones in their local communities, that’s kind of the goal.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.