Basketball courts

Two new basketball courts honoring Kobe, Gianna Bryant coming to West Philly this fall

Kobe Bryant’s far-reaching basketball legacy will now be reinforced at the Tustin Playground in West Philly.

Two new basketball courts honoring the late Hall of Famer and his daughter Gianna will arrive at Overbrook Park this fall, the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation has announced. The foundation was established in honor of the Black Mamba and his daughter after the two were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., In January 2020.

A young Kobe Bryant often made baskets at the Tustin Playground, located at 5901 W. Columbia Ave., when he lived in the Philly area, according to the foundation.

“The legacy project in honor and memory of Kobe and Gianna will serve as a safe play space for young people in the community to interact with their friends and family,” the foundation wrote. “Finding spaces where young people can come together in peace through a love of sport is important to the Bryant family.”

The project is in partnership with Nancy Lieberman Charities, a nonprofit organization founded by the Basketball Hall of Famer to provide fitness, health and education opportunities to underprivileged children.

“Our deep gratitude to Vanessa Bryant, The Bryant Family, Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, Nancy Lieberman, Nancy Lieberman Charities and all who will make this project possible,” wrote Philadelphia Parks and Recreation officials.

The two new basketball courts are being developed under the umbrella of the Lieberman charity’s Dream Courts, which aims to make basketball more accessible to children. A “court of dreams” is also being created in Vanessa Bryant’s hometown of Anaheim, California, according to the foundation.

Bryant was born in Philadelphia, but grew up overseas as his father pursued his own professional basketball career in Italy.

The NBA superstar then returned home and played basketball at Lower Merion High School from 1992 to 1996. He helped lead Lower Merion to the PIAA Men’s State Basketball Championship during his senior season. He was also named McDonald’s All-American, Naismith High School Player of the Year and Gatorade Men’s National Basketball Player of the Year in 1996.

Bryant ended his high school career with 2,883 points and his No.33 jersey was retired by Lower Merion.

The Lakers legend has remained with his alma mater after his high school career ended. Bryant was a school benefactor and the Lower Merion Gymnasium is named after him.

Kobe Bryant was 41 and Gianna Bryant was 13 when both were killed in a helicopter crash in January 2020. Seven other victims in the crash were teammates of Gianna Bryant’s basketball team, their parents and the helicopter pilot.