I envisioned the battle for a championship as a game played out in the universe where a warrior is attacked by all the evil demonic forces fighting to defeat him. A scene from a nightmare where tattooed humans become demons flying in a frenzy to bring down the power and will of the fiercest competitor. One attacker converts the ball into a fiery meteor while others claw and rip at the his flesh. Another beast is in a psychological trance wooing the spirit of the warrior represented through the snake, The Black Mamba.
The famous surrealist, Salvador Dali took art and our imaginations to a new level by painting melting clocks, humans with holes and drawers, giraffes on fire and many other images only visible in a nightmare or in the insane. He utilized probably better than anyone the use of symbolism to tell the story instead of words and sentences. He broadened our imaginations and interpretations of what we see to a completely different way.
The netting with thorns represents the sacrifice. The broken wall represents the power of running through barriers. Kobe once told me that he practices hitting a wall and running through it again and again. Amaizing! Most of us quit when we hit a wall and blame it on the circumstances. The Spanish Galleon coming in with the number 16 on the sail represents Pau Gasol, a major player in the win. The two trophies, MVP and the Larry O’Brien at the base of the painting. And Shack fading off into the sunset lamenting his words that Kobe could not win a championship without him. All this combined makes this painting of the battle, the warriors and the victory, “Defeating the Demons” a timeless work of art.