Only a week after an LA muralist painted a Lakers-inspired message to Kawhi Leonard on the side of Pizzaoki Venice, the same artist repurposed the same image welcoming Leonard as a Los Angeles Clipper.
Artist Gustavo Zermeño Jr. originally illustrated Leonard in a Lakers jersey lifting the NBA championship trophy with the words “Kawhi not?” painted above the player’s head. It’s now transformed into a simpler one with all Laker references removed, a black background, Leonard’s head with signature cornrows, and a message, “Welcome home champ.”
That didn’t take long. This is down at Venice Beach. pic.twitter.com/lDsxxijvkq— Arnie Spanier (@StinkinGenius1) July 7, 2019
Speculation about Leonard leaving the Toronto Raptors and signing with the Lakers was the talk of the town after leading the Canadian team to its first NBA championship last month. Fans and sports analysts were hopeful the MVP’s LA return would be in purple and gold, but Leonard took everyone by surprise on Saturday by announcing his contract with the Clippers. Some are up in arms about it, including Alfred Coffee who posted an Instagram story to Kawhi and new teammate Paul George, “We reserve the right to refuse service” to both players.
Pizzaoki owner, Steve Aoki, promised free pizza for life if Leonard signed with the Lakers. Will the same offer apply now that he’s a Clipper? Eater reached out to Aoki’s spokesperson, who said no.