Tragic news struck Lakers’ fans yesterday when Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash, alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant.
While Kobe became the face of basketball in his short 41 years, the loss of his daughter Gianna marks an even greater tragedy, a life and talent taken before it even had the chance to truly begin.
As fans continue to mourn their loss, some are looking to learn more about Kobe’s daughter, who left this world too soon. Even sadder, Gianna Bryant was making moves to become just like her daddy.
Despite only being 13-years-old, Gianna Bryant had big dreams to one day become a professional basketball player like her dad Kobe Bryant.
Prior to the tragic accident, Gianna played basketball for the Mamba Sports Academy, which Kobe opened back in 2016. At the time of the crash, Kobe and Gianna were traveling to one of her games with a coach and other players and parents.
Members of the Mamba Sports Academy gathered together on the court during Sunday’s canceled games to remember Kobe and Gianna.
Ultimately, Gianna’s goals were to go on to high school and play competitive basketball, where she could one day go on to play for her dream school the University of Connecticut and the WNBA.
The Twitter account for the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team shared their condolences Sunday, writing, “Kobe and Gianna meant a lot to our program. Our thoughts are with the Bryant family. Mamba mentality will live on forever, but they are deeply missed,” including a blue heart emoji at the end.
Kobe and Gianna meant a lot to our program. Our thoughts are with the Bryant family.
Mamba Mentality will live on forever, but they are deeply missed. 💙 pic.twitter.com/4Ib96yFxgg
— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) January 26, 2020
“[Gianna] will be standing next to me, and [fans] will be like, ‘You gotta have a boy. You and [wife Vanessa] gotta have a boy, you gotta have somebody carry on the tradition, the legacy.’ And she’s like ‘Oh! I got this. Don’t need no boy for that! I got this,'” Kobe said.
After the terrible accident, Kobe and Gianna leave behind his wife Vanessa Bryant and their other three daughters, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and their youngest Capri, who is not yet 1.
In an Instagram post from late last November, Gianna, who went by “Gigi,” shared a photo of their family sharing Thanksgiving dinner together. In white writing on top of the photo it reads, “Happy Thanksgiving! Thankful for my family.”
The caption lovingly documents, “A Bryant’s Thanksgiving,” and adds the hashtag “mambacita,” the nickname Gigi went by as an ode to her father’s nickname “The Black Mamba”.