The world was rocked by the sudden and unexpected death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna in a helicopter accident on Sunday morning in Calabasas, California. They were on the way to Mamba Academy for basketball practice and died in the accident as well as seven other people.
Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa and three other daughters: Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. A source told Entertainment Tonight that “Vanessa is completely shocked and heartbroken but is trying to stay as strong as she can in front of her children.”
“Vanessa married Kobe when she was 18 and never expected to live her life without him, and that is going to take time. She has been surrounded by her family and friends but she feels almost numb to everything. She is thankful for the outpouring of love her and her family has received and will respond when she’s ready. Right now she’s taking time to be with her girls.”
Vanessa hasn’t made a public statement regarding the accident, focusing instead on her and her family’s privacy at this tragic time, but she changed her profile picture on Instagram to a photo of Kobe and Gianna embracing on a basketball court. Vanessa made her Instagram private immediately after the accident, but has since made it public again.
Fans also noted a lovely video that Vanessa had posted a video playing a clapping game on TikTok with Gigi titled “❤️ my Gigi ? #Mambacita mommy and me ❤️.”
As a way to honor Kobe and Gianna and the bond that they shared on and off the court, #GirlDad started trending on Twitter with people sharing pictures with their fathers or daughters and explaining how close they are.
Bryant told Jimmy Kimmel that he saw Gianna as his legacy and the one who had the potential to follow in his footsteps on the court.
“The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans would come up to me and she’ll be standing next to me, and they’ll be like, ‘You’ve gotta have a boy, you and V gotta have a boy. You gotta have somebody to carry on your tradition, the legacy.’ She’s like, ‘Oy, I got this.’ I’m like that’s right. Yes, you do, you got this.”
The Kobe story Elle Duncan shared on Sportscenter was so heartfelt and heartbreaking, more people need to see it.
— Gian Cruz (@helloxgian) January 28, 2020