July 7, 2020 #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

Video: Santa Monica Mask Fines

July 7, 2020

July 7, 2020

The City of Santa Monica has authorized fines of up to $1,000 for failing to wear a mask. Learn more...

LAFD Puts out Ballona Wetlands Fire

July 6, 2020

July 6, 2020 1

Grass fire breaks out Sunday afternoon By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles firefighters put out a grass fire that broke out...

Venice Sees Unhealthy Air Quality After Fireworks

July 5, 2020

July 5, 2020 1

Fireworks continue in LA County despite ban By Sam Catanzaro Air quality throughout most of Los Angeles County, including Venice,...

Newsom Shuts Down Los Angeles Dining Rooms

July 1, 2020

July 1, 2020 1

Earlier this week Los Angeles County’s public health director said that almost half of restaurants and bars were not following...

Venice Beach Scores High Marks on Water Quality Report

July 1, 2020

July 1, 2020 1

Heal the Bay releases annual report By Sam Catanzaro Venice Beach scored high marks in Heal the Bay’s annual water...

Video: West Los Angeles VA Tent Row

June 30, 2020

June 30, 2020

What is the deal with the row of tents outside the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus? Learn more in...

County Directs Closures of Beaches During 4th of July Weekend

June 29, 2020

June 29, 2020 1

Fireworks displays also banned in county By Sam Catanzaro After reporting the highest single one-day COVID-19 case count, Los Angeles...

Newsom Orders Bars in LA County to Close

June 28, 2020

June 28, 2020 1

Countywide COVID-19 cases approaching 100,000 By Sam Catanzaro California Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered the closure of Los Angeles County...

Closing Abbot Kinney on Weekends for Pedestrians?

June 26, 2020

June 26, 2020 2

Venice Neighborhood Council June meeting recap, part 2. Read part 1 HERE. As businesses adapt to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)...

One Venice-Area Sexual Assault Suspect Still Sought by Police

June 24, 2020

June 24, 2020 1

LAPD arrest one suspect on suspicion of forced sexual penetration By Sam Catanzaro After arresting one suspect, Los Angeles police...

Second Victim Dies in Venice CVS Shooting

June 23, 2020

June 23, 2020 2

Double homicide occurs at Lincoln Boulevard CVS Monday night By Sam Catanzaro A second victim has died following a shooting...

Fatal Shooting Occurs at Venice CVS

June 22, 2020

June 22, 2020 2

Update: https://yovenice.com/2020/06/23/second-victim-dies-in-venice-cvs-shooting/ Two men shot at CVS on Lincoln Boulevard By Sam Catanzaro A shooting at a Venice CVS has...

Video: Housing LA’s Homeless Under Freeway Underpasses

June 22, 2020

June 22, 2020

As ordered by a federal judge, Los Angeles will provide housing for almost 7,000 homeless individuals, especially those living under...

New Bethel Stained Glass Windows, New VNC Board Members, Speed Bumps?

June 19, 2020

June 19, 2020 2

Part 1 recap of the June 16 Venice Neighborhood Council Meeting By Angela McGregor The June 16th meeting of the...

Newsom Orders Statewide Mask Wearing

June 18, 2020

June 18, 2020 1

Los Angeles County reports highest daily COVID-19 Wednesday By Sam Catanzaro Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered all Californians to wear...