Fans honor Kobe Bryant with mural painted in South Nashville

Posted at 8:45 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 07:07:25-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — It has been one week since the sudden death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash. Even though Kobe played in L.A., fans mourned the loss all over the world including right here in Nashville.

Jose Vargas spent four days painting a new mural on the wall at Kountry Kloudz Smoke shop on Nolensville Pike to honor Bryant and the other passengers lost in the crash.

Vargas moved to Nashville from the South American country of Columbia about 15 years ago. He has murals across the city in schools, churches and on the sides of businesses. Vargas say this mural for Kobe is special.

"This mural is because the people come here, because the people need to see about the life, that there are dreams," said Vargas.

Vargas says he was a fan Kobe and was hurt to hear of his sudden passing.

"It’s horrible, I listened and watched TV and some videos, and I cried because he’s inspiration for everybody," Vargas said.

The mural depicts a basketball hoop as a halo above Kobe's head; it also has the names of the other seven people who died in the helicopter crash on January 26th that killed Bryant and his daughter.

But those who look at it say they don't see death. They see life.

"How something in a painting can look so true to life, like you can feel it, you can just feel the vibe that it’s giving," said Ali Nizori.

Nizori also a huge Lakers fan says he hopes the mural can attract more people to visit south Nashville.

"There’s not a lot of attention on this side of town but we finally have something that can get people to come around here to see," Nizori said.

The store owner tells me than want to turn a stump of concrete in front of the mural into a basketball so fans can sit on it and take pictures.