Kobe Bryant never had a son to carry on his legendary career and legacy in the NBA, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have any children that were capable of doing so in some capacity. He had his second-oldest daughter, Gianna, or Gigi, as he and Vanessa lovingly called her.
She was everything to Bryant and was also becoming quite the protege for the NBA all-star. Over the years, Kobe shared how talented she was and how it made him proud. Still, people lamented that he had no sons. Through the years, though, Gianna was sure to let people know to watch out for her, as she was going to take on her father’s legacy someday.
Gianna was Bryant’s second-oldest daughter, but by far, the one who had the most interest in basketball. After retiring from the NBA in 2016, Bryant made it a point to start coaching Gianna and preparing her for a career in the game that he so loved. It was a passion that two shared and one of the reasons for their unbreakable bond.
Both regularly attended professional basketball games together, no doubt, using them as teaching tools for his young, blossoming basketball star. Gianna was keen on the idea of carrying on her father’s legacy and had hoped to play at the University of Connecticut, the powerhouse program in women’s college basketball.
For being such a young girl, Gianna knew what her father’s legacy meant, not only for basketball, but the parts afterward where he regularly engaged in philanthropy and helping others. Just last year, Bryant was a guest on the Jimmy Kimmel late-night show where he couldn’t stop gushing over his little soon-to-be phenom.
During the appearance, Bryant shared the stories of all the times that he was approached by fans while Gianna was with him, telling the NBA all-star that he needed to have some boys. For Bryant, Gianna was all he needed and his daughter’s response to those fans was also all he needed to hear.
Bryant shared with Kimmel, “The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans will come up to me, and she’ll be standing next to me,” he began. “And they’ll be like, ‘Hey, you gotta have a boy. You and V gotta have a boy, man, have somebody carry on your tradition, the legacy.”
In these instances, Gianna knew what was at stake and would often times respond accordingly. Bryant continued, “And she’s like, ‘Oy, I got this. You don’t need no boy for that. I got this.’ And I’m like, ‘That’s right. Yes, you do. You got this.”
It’s truly tragic that both Kobe and Gianna are no longer with us. Vanessa, his wife and Gianna’s mother, is left to pick up the pieces and continue to raise her other three daughters alone, following the unforeseen death that resulted from the helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday morning.
But if there’s any silver lining that can be taken from the situation, it is that both Kobe and Gianna, father and daughter, who shared an unrivaled and strong bond that no on will ever know, were together from the very second she was born until the last moment they were both in this world.