Despite all the recent vandalism in Los Angeles, murals of Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant have remained mostly untouched.
On Monday, Kobe’s wife Vanessa expressed her appreciation on Instagram with heart emojis. On her Instagram story, she showed several murals that were “saved.”
Los Angeles is just one of the big cities that have been tagged with graffiti over the past few days, but clearly Kobe is off-limits.
Over the weekend, Vanessa showed her support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Along with posting a 2014 photo of Kobe wearing an "I Can't Breathe" T-shirt, Vanessa wrote, "My husband wore this shirt years ago and yet here we are again.💔#ICANTBREATHE."
She added, "Life is so fragile. Life is so unpredictable. Life is too short. Let’s share and embrace the beautiful qualities and similarities we all share as people. Drive out hate. Teach respect and love for all at home and school. Spread LOVE. Fight for change- register to VOTE. Do not use innocent lives lost as an excuse to loot. BE AN EXAMPLE OF THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE. #BLACKLIVESMATTER ❤️."
In 2014, Kobe wore the shirt to remember Eric Garner, who died in Staten Island after being held in a chokehold by a police officer. In a video, Garner was heard saying, "I can't breathe."
At the time, Kobe told reporters after a game about his choice to wear the shirt, "I think it's us supporting that movement and supporting each other as well as athletes. I think the beauty of our country lies in its democracy. I think if we ever lose the courage to be able to speak up for the things that we believe in, I think we really lose the value that our country stands for."
"It's important that we have our opinions. It's important that we stand up for what we believe in and we all don't have to agree with it and it's completely fine. That's what makes this a beautiful country," Kobe pointed out. "I think it would be a serious disservice to limit this to a race issue. It's a justice issue. You're kind of seeing a tipping point right now, in terms of social issues. It's become now at the forefront right now as opposed to being a local issue. It's really been something that has carried over and spilled into the mainstream, so when you turn on the TV and you watch the news or you follow things on social media, you don't just see African-Americans out there protesting."
Kobe emphasized, "It's become a thing where people are really standing up for their rights and really questioning the justice system and questioning the process of the legal system and those who have authority — and whether or not they're abusing authority and what's the threshold to use deadly force and so forth and so on. But that's what our nation is founded on, man. We have the ability to question these things in a peaceful fashion. That's what makes us a great country. We have the ability to voice up, we have the platform to speak up, and we have the platform to affect change."
Aside from Kobe, LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Kevin Garnett were other NBA stars who wore shirts to support Garner's family.
The nation is currently protesting after the killing of George Floyd. Last week, video showed white police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck during an arrest. Floyd said he could not breathe and pleaded for help, but later died.
All four responding officers have since been fired, and Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced on Friday that Chauvin had been arrested and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.