Working in the toy design and graphic design industry for the last 15 years since he was 18, Tracy had always wanted to illustrate Kobe, but didn’t want to draw just any simple sketch of the two-time Finals MVP. The Nike Zoom Kobe VI provided the perfect segue to finally put a pencil in his hand and get to work,
“I’ve always wanted to draw a picture of Kobe, I just for some reason didn’t know what to draw. I just felt as if it should have some sort of theme or something behind it besides just a plain old picture of Kobe. And then when the Kobe VI’s came out, at first I think I was mostly like everybody else and thought they looked a little weird, but when they finally came out and I saw them, I loved the way it looked, I loved the idea and concept behind the skake skin and everything to play off the whole Black Mamba thing. So I thought, why don’t I just combine the projects together where I draw Kobe and his shoe. And then when all these colorways started poppin off for the shoe, it got me all excited because I just had this idea where I would draw a picture of Kobe, but change up the colors to match all the new shoe colorways that are coming out. It was just one of those things where I’ve been a Laker fan, I’m a Kobe fan, I like his shoes…let’s draw a Kobe picture.”
Hardly anyone would disagree that Kobe’s sixth signature shoe has a very theme-specific design that truly captures the essence and spirit of his on-court ego, the Black Mamba. It’s that very unique aesthetic quality to the sneakers that really sparked Tracy’s Kobe art, but the Kobe V did come close to being his first project,
“I love the fives, I still do. When the Bruce Lee’s came out, those were my favorite fives, I wore those throughout the Finals. That was my superstition – same yellow Laker hat, my Los Lakers jersey and then my Bruce Lee Kobe V’s, I had to wear those all the time and those were the days they won. I thought back then when those shoes came out, it would be a funny picture if I drew Bruce Lee in the Kobe shoes, but I just never had time to do it. I just feel as if the sixes just have such a unique look to them that in a drawing or even pictures, they’re just eye-catching. It seems to be more of an artistically driven shoe than all the others that have come out so far.”
Hearing about Tracy’s go-to outfit for the Finals is indicative of his passion for the Lake Show and a quality that all of us can certainly relate to as I’m sure we all have that certain shirt, jersey, jacket or whatever else Lakers paraphernalia we rely on to ensure victory. Since I’ve never actually explored the mind of a fellow purple and gold fan with this level of artistic talent before, I wanted to find out more about Tracy Tubera the artist and Laker fan.
NEXT: Childhood origins