A mural depicting the late Nipsey Hussle and Kobe Bryant will stay in place outside a Los Angeles-area restaurant, despite complaints by some businesses and residents who wanted it removed.
The mural by local artist Sloe shows the rapper in a Dodgers jersey and Bryant in a Dodgers-themed basketball jersey. The public art display is located at Dirt Dog restaurant in Downey, a suburb of L.A.
Local officials issued a press release on Wednesday clarifying the city’s position on the display, and the steps it usually requires for murals to be placed around the city.
“The city has not asked for the removal of this mural. The city contacted the owner of Dirt Dog due to a number of complaints received by other businesses about the mural,” Mayor Claudia Frometa said in a statement. “While Downey embraces art in public places, the city asks businesses to partner and communicate with the city on any mural plans.”
Dirt Dog’s Downey location store manager, Edgar Trujillo, said the city recently contacted the restaurant owner to address the brewing controversy.
“We started our design about a month ago. We had Sloe, the artist helping us out, he pretty much sketched everything by hand. And then we got the news about a week ago [that] the city contacted the owner asking us if we could bring it down because they said people were complaining about it,” Trujillo told Urban Hollywood 411.
“We never really understood why—it wasn’t anything offensive. If anything, for us it was something to show respect,” Trujillo said.
He added that the city and the restaurant’s owner came to an agreement a couple of days ago to keep the mural in place.
Trujillo said while Dirt Dog’s other locations also have murals, the Downey location was the chain’s first outdoor art due to the restaurant’s outdoor seating.
Now that the mural will be staying up, Trujillo said it’s a way to pay respect to two Los Angeles icons.
“Kobe and then Nipsey were big idols—and they still are in the city of LA. We’re just proud and we’re just trying to show our respect to them,” he said.
Wednesday marked two years since the “Hussle & Motivate” artist was slain in 2019. The Lakers superstar died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.