For the second time this month, a mural featuring LeBron James in a Lakers uniform has been vandalized, according to reports.
Apparently, some in Los Angeles fans have not quite warmed up to the idea that LeBron James is going to be a Laker, after the second wall art featuring James in a Lakers uniform has been defaced, ESPN reported.
The latest vandalism occurred after artist Gustavo Zermeno finished a mural painting depicting a yellow uniform-clad James looking up respectfully at several past Lakers greats hovering over the two stadiums at which they played. Along with James, the painter added players such as Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain.
But late on Friday, July 20, someone poured white painting onto the depiction of James standing in a number 23 Lakers uniform.
— ThatHollywoodGuy (@Diehardheatfan1) July 21, 2018
On Saturday morning, the day after the vandalism occurred, Zermeno set about to repaint the James image and repair the vandalism. He was pleased to find up to 50 Lakers fans were on hand offering their help to restore the painting. But he was still shocked at the vandalism.
“I am surprised,” Zermeno told ESPN. “This is the most positive move for the Lakers in the past five or six years. It is really a surprise that people are upset about LeBron. I don’t understand it.
“[The message of the mural was to] just show LeBron paying homage to not only past Lakers legends but the whole organization,” Zermeno added. “Him showing up to the Lakers and knowing he has some big shoes to fill.”
Zermeno’s work is the second LeBron-James mural that has been vandalized.
The first local art to feature James as a Laker appeared on the side of the Baby Blues BBQ restaurant in Venice with the caption “King of LA.”
After it was finished, vandals spray-painted “we don’t want you” and “no king” on the mural. Also “3/6,” a reference to James’ NBA Finals record, was spray painted over the artwork.
The artist repaired the damage done to his mural, but days later the painting was defaced a second time with yellow paint splashed across James’ face. After the second attack on the artwork, the artist simply painted over the entire mural with white paint.
Lebron James' mural in Venice has been vandalized for a second time – so the artist painted white over the whole thing. Story at 5:15pm @nbcla #lakers #graffiti #art #streetart pic.twitter.com/zDnX1aAxle
— Angie Crouch (@AngieNBCLA) July 11, 2018
“I thought I had learned a long time ago to never touch religion or politics. I guess it is never touch religion, politics or anyone against Kobe,” artist Jonas Never told ESPN.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.