By Ime Ekpo, The Source
As the marathon continues, all the things that Nipsey Hussle loved and cherished proceed to carry out his legacy in live form. One of those things being his local Crenshaw community in the form of an entire basketball court. On Sunday (April 14), the Nipsey Hussle Memorial Basketball Court was unveiled by the children of the Crete Academy in the late artist’s honor.
Stationed on the corner of Crenshaw Blvd. & 60th Street is a cellar mural of a marked image of Hussle painted on top of a “Nipsey Blue” background with a checkerboard border. The court sits outside of non-profit charter school Crete Academy, a school whose student population views Nipsey as the epitome of success. The founder of Crete Academy, Hattie Mitchell told CBS LA about the lengths Nipsey’s presence had on the children highlighting the impact of his deeds. “For our kids to look at Nipsey and see to see everything he’s done, what he was able to accomplish and how much he gave back to the community is huge for them…because he looks like them,” said Mitchell. “He grew up where they grew up. He’s the epitome of everything that they want to be and aspire to be.”
The project was spearheaded by Nick Ansom, CEO of the Venice Basketball League. Ansom and Hussle were in talks about developing a community project together as they both shared a love for basketball and contributing to the community. Ansom found the court mural of Nipsey to be a way to comfort the people of Crenshaw of Nipsey’s everlasting support, despite his passing.
“He spoke through his music, but he also spoke through his actions,” Ansom told NBC San Diego. “You have Nipsey looking out toward his neighborhood and saying, ‘I’m still here with you guys.’”
The 46 feet wide and 78 feet long mural was painted by Muralist Gustavo Zermano, who is also a certified Hip-Hop head as he expressed his tune in to Tupac Shakur, Tha Dogg Pound and of course Nipsey Hussle to local news station NBC San Diego. However, his inspiration to contribute to Ansom’s idea was pushed by his appreciation for Hussle’s notable community work.
“When (Nick) asked me to be a part of this, I felt like I had to contribute something bigger, so that’s when I pitched the whole Nipsey thing, like actually painting him on the court,” Zermano said. “He was a big part of helping the kids, and when I heard it was at a school that’s when I was like, it’s for real.”
The Nipsey Hussle Memorial Court was officially unveiled on Sunday, with his immediate family in attendance for the cutting of the ribbon, his father Dawit Asghedom and sister Samantha Smith were both front and center with scissors in hand. The event was slated as a “Celebration of Life” and welcomed with a high school showcase followed by an All-Star game throughout the afternoon.
Thank you to everyone who pulled up today to the unveiling of the mural at Nipsey Hussle Memorial Court. pic.twitter.com/MMJD8msKyM
— iddris sandu (@iddris_sandu) April 15, 2019
This article originally appeared in The Source.