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Valenzuela unveils ‘House of Kobe’ gym

 A MAN takes a photo of a mural of Kobe Bryant at the newly built covered court in Barangay Karuhatan, Valenzuela City also known as the ‘House of Kobe.’ Kobe was killed in a helicopter crash Sunday. (Mark Balmores)

A MAN takes a photo of a mural of Kobe Bryant at the newly built covered court in Barangay Karuhatan, Valenzuela City also known as the ‘House of Kobe.’ Kobe was killed in a helicopter crash Sunday. His daughter, Gianna, was also among the victims. (Mark Balmores)

Valenzuela City unveiled a tribute to Kobe Bryant on Sunday, a day before he was killed in a helicopter crash.

“House of Kobe” gym was originally built as a convention center in Barangay Karuhatan.

But Valenzuela City Rep. Eric Martinez, House Committee on Youth and Sports Development chairman, said that a group of artists had painted a huge mural of Kobe at the cemented fence, hence, it was decided that it be transformed into a basketball court in honor of his Manila visit in 2016. The artwork even had a text: “Heroes come and go but legends are forever.”

Martinez said the inauguration accidentally coincided with Kobe’s death.

“Noong inauguration noong Sunday sabi ko sa microphone, I am calling on Kobe Bryant na if bumalik siya sa Pilipinas, please visit Valenzuela City,” Martinez, a diehard Bryant fan, said.

Martinez also said the court was embellished with other Los Angeles Lakers memorabilia, including T-shirts hung on the side railings, as well as the images of Bryant’s teammates like Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal whom he had a feud before.

He said the court even served as a makeshift wake yesterday for mourning fans who also offered candles and flowers outside for Kobe.
The city is famous for its hoops courts inspired by other NBA teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, and Houston Rockets, among others.
Martinez said House of Kobe was the sixth. (Hanah Tabios)
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