ONTARIO, N.Y. - Woodworker Steve Thomson's wooden tribute to the late Kobe Bryant has picked up lots of attention on social media - even earning a shoutout from Bryant's former teammate Pau Gasol.
The 52-year-old Thomson, who has only been woodworking for three years, built the piece from more than 100 pieces of walnut, cherry, mahogany, maple, oak, and butternut.
"Each piece is cut and roughly sanded until groupings are combined and sanded as one unit," writes Thomson on an Instagram post. "To create dimension I carved, sculpted and sanded the piece while placing shims in certain areas to emphasize the dimension and lifelike quality. The pieces are glued down and finished with a paste wax for protection. No paint or stains are used."
Thomson says he utilized wood carving burrs from Kutzall. The piece measures 2 feet by 3 feet.


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Thomson first unveiled the piece in July on his Instagram page, where he has around a thousand followers. A few weeks ago it was shared by Gasol. It quickly went viral, amassing more than 120,000 likes and 600 comments.
A marketing director, Thomson told the Democrat & Chronicle that he got laid off from his job only a few days after revealing the portrait. He's looking at it as a blessing. 
"Getting laid off catapulted me into saying, 'I want to do this for a living'," Thomson said. 
Since then, Gasol has agreed to purchase the piece from Thomson, intending to personally gift it to Bryant's wife and daughters.

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