Kobe Bryant: NASCAR Driver William Byron Unveils Lakers-Themed Tribute Paint Scheme

Heading toward the third Cup Series race of the 2020 NASCAR season, there were reports about William Byron and Hendrick Motorsports unveiling a Kobe Bryant tribute paint scheme. The design surfaced on Tuesday afternoon, courtesy of Axalta Racing. Byron will be driving the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro that features numerous tributes to the late NBA icon who died in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash.

Axalta posted a 360-degree video on Twitter that showed all of the in-depth details of this new paint scheme. The majority of the car is purple, but it features a yellow roof and accents to showcase the Los Angeles Lakers colors.

"Honored to be driving for Kobe, Gianna, Payton, Sarah, Alyssa, Keri, John, Christina, and Ara. Continued prayers for their families," Byron wrote on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.

One important detail of the design that was highlighted by the concept video is the organization referenced on the vehicle. Text reading "After-School All-Stars" is prominently featured on the trunk area. This is an organization created in 1992 that "provides free, comprehensive after-school programs that keep children safe and help them succeed in school and life."

This organization was very important to Bryant throughout his life. He spent more than a decade serving as a national ambassador for After-School All-Stars and often provided tickets to Lakers games and scholarships to summer basketball camps. Bryant also took part in fundraisers for the organization.

"As one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Kobe's spotlight was brighter than almost anyone's, and he used it to help millions of kids," After-School All-Stars founder Arnold Schwarzenegger said. "For 12 years he was an ambassador for After-School All-Stars, and he used his time and his resources to inspire our 90,000 kids and help build opportunities for them."

This is the second Bryant-themed paint scheme to be unveiled ahead of Sunday's race. Ryan Blaney also showed off his No. 12 Ford Mustang that features a Mamba-themed scheme. The entire vehicle is covered with purple and yellow scales, and there are numbers representing Bryant and his daughter Gianna are on the trunk area.


Blaney's vehicle, which was designed by Body Armor, encourages fans to donate to the MambaOnThree Foundation, which was created by Bryant's wife, Vanessa. This organization raises money for the families of the other seven victims.

Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images