Nickerson Gardens get Kobe and Gigi Bryant mural

Thanks to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, the Los Angeles housing project in Watts gets a new look that celebrates the Mamba legacy  

Watts, CA – Vanessa Bryant and the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation teamed up with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Lakers Youth Foundation to update and renovate multiple sports spaces at Nickerson Gardens in Watts, the largest public housing community in Los Angeles. The updated sports facilities will serve more than 3,000 Nickerson Gardens residents, including 1,300 kids.

“This gymnasium stands as a testament to Kobe and Gigi’s unwavering belief in the potential of every young athlete,” said Vanessa Bryant, chair of the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation. “This serves as a reminder to all the boys and girls who play here that they are supported and loved. We want this to be a free and safe space for you to enjoy the game that Kobe and Gianna loved so much.”

The updated facilities were ready for play following a ribbon cutting ceremony today attended by Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation Chair Vanessa Bryant; Los Angeles Lakers Vice President of Charitable Affairs and Lakers Youth Foundation Kiesha Nix; U.S. Representative Maxine Waters; Los Angeles City Councilmember Tim McOsker; and several executives of the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, which manages the Nickerson Gardens housing, including President and CEO Doug Guthrie.

Vanessa Bryant stands in front of a giant likeness of her husband, the late Kobe Bryant. Mrs. Bryant and the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation teamed up with the Los Angeles Lakers Foundation to help renovate a playground and gymnasium in the Nickerson Gardens Housing Project in South Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Lakers

“Serving our communities is core to the Lakers’ values,” said Nix. “Sports have the unique ability to bring people together and build community immediately and over time, and these renovations will serve people of all ages and backgrounds here at Nickerson Gardens for years to come.”

Central to the Nickerson Gardens renovations is the indoor gym highlighted by a vibrant mural that reflects and honors Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s shared love of basketball.

Created by artist Brian Peterson, the mural features striking portraits, accompanied by a comprehensive tribute to Kobe’s legendary career including his numerous accolades and achievements. The mural serves as a powerful symbol of inspiration for the community, recognizing the impact Kobe and Gianna had on and off the court.

“This is more than a mural,” said Peterson. “It’s a place where the spirit of Kobe and Gigi lives on, inspiring players to bring their best to the court. This project is a testament to the power of basketball to unite people and create lasting memories.”

The gym refurbishments include a resurfaced floor, updated bleachers, Mamba and Mambacita designs and graphics and purple and gold touches throughout. Outdoors, there are three updated basketball courts, including two repaved black tops and one sport court designed for younger players, as well as an outdoor skate park. New backboards and rims are featured on all courts as the area is infused with the iconic Lakers colors.

“We at HACLA are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Lakers, the Lakers Youth Foundation and the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation for this beautiful renovation of our gymnasium at Nickerson Gardens,” said Guthrie. “We acknowledge the incredible commitment that has been made to this community and are committed to preserving the legacy of Kobe and Gigi by honoring this space and ensuring youth and families have positive basketball programs that foster teamwork and collaboration.”

Nickerson Gardens was chosen for the refurbishment by Vanessa Bryant and the Lakers, in part because it is the former location of the Boys and Girls Club where Kobe hosted his youth basketball program, “Mamba League,” which was designed to empower girls and boys on the court and in life. The Lakers were also inspired by the local community support from Top Dawg Entertainment.

Nickerson Gardens, with support from the Los Angeles Area Metropolitan Churches, hosts regular health and wellness, education and community programming in the gym and across their facilities to support children, families and seniors.


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