Irvine’s Great Park balloon wrapped in logo honoring Kobe Bryant, others who died in helicopter crash
A logo of Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy will float above the Orange County Great Park in Irvine for several days starting Friday, Feb. 14.
Developer FivePoint Holdings has worked with the city to wrap the logo around the park’s signature giant orange balloon, which the company sponsors. Three lights will illuminate the balloon at night starting Saturday, Feb. 15, FivePoint CEO Emile Haddad said.
The logo features the uniform numbers of Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and her Mamba teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester. It also includes the initials CM, which stands for Christina Mauser, one of the team’s coaches. The five died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas that also killed four others.
Haddad said he and Bryant, who lived in Newport Beach, worked together to encourage youth to explore their potential.
“As a result of me knowing him more as a human rather than as a superstar or a hero, I really got to appreciate his way of thinking,” Haddad said. “And since all nine people were from Orange County, I thought it’s very appropriate for us to have something that reminds us of them.”
People will still be able to take rides in the balloon during its usual hours, Haddad said.