Since his death on January 26, 2020 as a result of a helicopter crash, fans and people all over the world have been paying tribute to NBA basketball champion Kobe Bryant. NASCAR is also paying tribute to the basketball star.
At the Auto Club 400 on March 1 Hendrick Motorsports will pay tribute to the fallen basketball star with a special one time only purple and gold paint scheme. Hendricks owns four cars, the car carrying the tribute is appropriately the number 24 car driven by William Byron which is sponsored by Axalta.
Bryant spent 20 years as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers whose colours are purple and gold. Bryant’s uniform number was 24.
Car sponors Axalta will be making a donation to the non profit organization After-School All-Stars – an organization where Bryant served as the National Ambassador. In addition, proceeds from the sale of the special paint scheme die cast replicas will be donated to the After-School All-Stars.
Number 24 driver William Byron spoke on the tribute saying, “we continue to pray for all of the families. It’s humbling to be able to run such a special car, especially in the Los Angeles area. I’m a huge sports fan and followed Kobe’s career really closely like so many other people. He left a legacy that goes beyond basketball and has reached across all of the sports world and into many different communities where he gave back. I’m very happy that Axalta wanted to do this, and I hope to make everyone proud in the No. 24 on Sunday.”
NASCAR Cup Series drivers Ryan Blaney and his Team Penske number 12 car will also carry a tribute to Bryant.
Mexican born driver Daniel Suarez is paying tribute to Bryant, his daughter and the other seven people who died in the crash by carrying the names on his number 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing car. Suarez will also be wearing special gloves and shoes for the race.
During the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, Bubba Wallace and Richard Petty Motorsports paid tribute to the crash victims during the Daytona 500.
feature photo credit: By Dough4872 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73309277