July 30, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Venice Says ‘No’ to LeBron

Mural of NBA superstar vandalized in Venice.

By Sam Catanzaro

LeBron James recently signed a $154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. Soon after, a Kobe Bryant fan may have earned $300 for vandalizing a mural of James in the parking lot of Baby Blues BBQ in Venice.

Jonas Never, a prominent artist based in Venice, likes to paint murals that reflect what is going on in the world.

“My previous mural was a portrait of Anthony Bourdain right after he died,” Never said. “When LeBron signed with the Lakers, I knew I wanted to paint him to sort of capture the excitement surrounding his arrival.”

Never asked his friend Robb Aquirre, the manager of Baby Blues BBQ, if he could paint a mural of James on a wall in the restaurant’s parking lot.

“It wasn’t commissioned, I just did it for fun,” Never said.

Never completed the mural on Friday, July 6, depicting James in a Lakers jersey with the words “The King LA” written along the top of the wall. Soon after, Twitter user @BenOsaze of the Twitter page “Lakers Fanbase” expressed his displeasure with the nickname The King.

“He’s not a king,” @BenOsaze wrote in a tweet. “He’s not worthy of that nickname. He hasn’t accomplished anything for the Lakers just yet so why are we so eager to immortalize him?”

Then, in a since-deleted tweet from the same user, a bounty was put on the mural.

“I’m offering $300 to anyone who destroys this mural,” reads the since-deleted tweet.

The vandalism followed soon after, with  “We don’t want you,” “No King,” and “LeFraud” spray painted over the mural, along with reference to James’ 3-6 NBA Finals record.

“He didn’t even do it for the love of Kobe [Bryant] or hatred of LeBron,” Never said. “He was just hoping to collect the $300 bounty someone put on the wall.”

The damage was manageable, however, and Never quickly restored the mural to its original, insult free form but a day later, it got vandalized again. This second incident proved to be the straw that broke the mural’s back as the damage was too much to fix.

“I didn’t want it to be left hanging all destroyed so I decided to paint over it,” Never said. “I’ve painted hundreds of murals and this has never happened. Some folks are incredibly loyal to Kobe or really filled with a hatred for LeBron.”

Never said writing “The King LA”  on the mural was not intended to spark a Kobe vs. LeBron debate but merely a reference to James’ longtime nickname.

“It was never about LeBron vs. Kobe. The title stemmed from LeBron’s nickname, which is King. If David Robinson had signed, it would’ve said ‘the Admiral.’” If it had been Allen Iverson, it would’ve said the ‘Answer of LA’,” Never said.

The Twitter page Lakers Fanbase at the root of the defacement has since come out and apologized for their actions, claiming the since-deleted tweet was a joke.

“My tweet offering money to destroy the mural was a joke and I’m shocked that people took it so seriously. I received multiple death threats minutes after the tweet was posted,” they wrote. “I’m saddened that my tweet brought so much negativity.”

If James helps bring an NBA title to Los Angeles, Never is open to painting another mural of “The King.” Whether or not this will settle the LeBron vs. Kobe debate, however, is an entirely different matter.

“I’d paint him again but even if he won the title he probably wouldn’t even win over the Kobe supporters. I’m just happy the Lakers are relevant again and that the wall has gotten people talking,” Never said.

To find out more about Jonas Never, check out his Instagram @never1959.

Related Posts

Uovo Pasta Opens in Marina Del Rey

July 29, 2021

July 29, 2021

Soft opening for popular restaurant at Pier 44 By Kerry Slater  Popular pasta restaurant Uovo is now open in Marina...

Opinion: Why the Recall of Mike Bonin Matters

July 29, 2021

July 29, 2021

By Nick Antonicello For the first time in a long time Mike Bonin seems to be actually responding to the...

Police Investigating Fatal Crash, Shooting in Venice

July 28, 2021

July 28, 2021

Details remain murky surrounding Tuesday morning incident  By Sam Catanzaro Police are investigating a fatal car crash and possible related...

Venice Community Housing Receives Honor From American Institute Of Architects: YO! Venice Show – July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

July 27, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Venice Community Housing Receives Honor From American Institute Of Architects *...

Homeless Advocate Arrested Near Venice Bridge Home Shelter on Suspicion of Dealing Drugs (UPDATED)

July 26, 2021

July 26, 2021

65-year-old Garry Featherstone accused of selling meth, PCP By Sam Catanzaro A self-described homeless outreach advocate was recently arrested near...

63-Year-Old Man Killed in Westchester Tent Fire

July 22, 2021

July 22, 2021

LAFD investigating Wednesday night incident  By Sam Catanzaro A 63-year-old man died in a tent following a fire in Westchester...

Opinion: Why Silence the Sheriff? Bonin Bashing of Villanueva Backfires at the Wrong Moment!

July 21, 2021

July 21, 2021

By Nick Antonicello Don’t like the message? Please don’t shoot the messenger! For that seems to be the case when...

Bonin’s Encampment to Home Moves 131 Homeless Into Housing: YO! Venice Show – July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Bonin’s Encampment to Home Moves 131 Homeless Into Housing * LAFD...

Unidentified Skeletal Remains Found in Ballona Wetlands Amid Search for Missing Person

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Authorities make discovery amid search for Kolby Story this past Friday  By Sam Catanzarto Unidentified skeletal remains were found Friday...

Beach Closures Lifted After Sunday Discharge of 17 Million Gallons of Raw Sewage From Hyperion Plant

July 15, 2021

July 15, 2021

17 million gallons of raw sewage discharged from Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant Sunday Night By Sam Catanzaro Beach closures have...

Petition for Recall of Councilmember Bonin Approved for Circulation

July 13, 2021

July 13, 2021

Signature gathering phase now set to begin after Tuesday approval by City Clerk  By Sam Catanzaro The Los Angeles City...

Deadline Extended For Unhoused To Move Belongings Off Boardwalk: YO! Venice Show – July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Deadline Extended For Unhoused To Move Belongings Off Boardwalk * Pedestrian...

Hyperion Spill Discharges 17 Million Gallons of Raw Sewage Into Santa Monica Bay

July 12, 2021

July 12, 2021

Sunday night spillage occurs 1-mile offshore from Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant By Sam Catanzaro 17 million gallons of raw sewage...