Cecilia Moran, owner of Hardcore Fitness in downtown Los Angeles, was photographed next to a mural of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on the exterior of her store. Moran told the Times that her landlord has ordered her to remove the mural by the end of the month. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

The mural cannot be missed.

It depicts Lakers legend Kobe Bryant with his arm around his teenage daughter Gianna — two of the nine people who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020 — with angelic wings and halo-like glows around their heads.

It’s larger than life, featuring an entire wall next to Hardcore Fitness at 400 W. Pico Blvd., just blocks from Crypto.com Arena, the Lakers’ home arena.

“It’s a piece of art that honors a creative person,” gym owner Cecilia Moran told The Times in a phone interview Friday.

But soon it may disappear. Moran said the property owner informed her on Wednesday that the mural must be removed by the end of the month to make room for the advertisement.

Read more: The memory of Kobe Bryant runs through the heart of Los Angeles and on its walls

Moran told him she wouldn’t.

“I said I don’t think it’s true,” said Moran, who told The Times she has since received written notice from the homeowner that he would remove the mural and send her the bill if she didn’t remove it herself. “This mural also benefits advertising and has a lot of meaning for the city and Kobe fans. So I said I disagree with it. I don’t want to upset the fans and I don’t want to be disrespectful and I don’t think this mural should be removed.”

The Los Angeles artist who painted the mural more than three years ago agrees.

“You have to put some logic into it, man, and think about it and what it really means for L.A.,” Louie Balcino told the Times. “Even if the owner wants to make money, this is a landmark that people come from all over the world to visit, so it’s good for him, his property and everyone involved in this. I don’t see any sense in removing the ad.”

Moran told the Times that she did not ask the homeowner’s permission to paint the mural, but he knew the painting was under construction before it was completed and never raised any objection.

Hideharu Tanaka photographs his paramedic students in front of a mural of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna

Hideharu Tanaka, professor and dean of Kokushikan University in Tokyo, films his students in front of a mural of Kobe and Gianna Bryant outside Hardcore Fitness in downtown Los Angeles. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

Maroud Omrani, an agent for 400 W Pico LLC, which owns the building, was reached by phone but did not comment.

In the days following the deaths of Bryant and his daughter, Alcino contacted Moran about the mural. She agreed after seeing the adorable father-daughter photo that Balcino based it on.

“I loved the idea of ​​(Kobe) taking care of Gigi,” said Moran, who lost her father the previous year. “I feel like my dad was taking care of me in that way, so I said, ‘Yes, let’s do it.’

Moran personally funded the project, spending an estimated $2,500 on supplies and equipment. The artist did his work for free and cherished every moment.

Read more: A statue of Kobe Bryant will be unveiled outside Crypto next year. How will he be immortalized?

“When we did it, a lot of people came from all over the world and watched me do it,” Balcino said. “I’ve always viewed this piece as a team effort. I had people bringing me food and feeding me. It was great, man, just the energy that people were putting out there was amazing. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I got to share that moment with everyone.” ”

A Change.org petition seeking to save the mural had garnered nearly 5,000 signatures by late Friday afternoon.

“Maybe we can speak up together,” Moran said. “I need more people to help me maintain the mural and find a way to make sure it continues to honor someone who positively impacted the lives of so many people and was a role model for so many people.”

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This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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