The world was already mourning Kobe Bryant’s death when a development revealed his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in the same helicopter crash which took the NBA star's life on the morning January 26.
Gianna, affectionately called Gigi, was killed when the helicopter carrying her and her father crashed into the side of a California hill, as Blavity previously reported. Although her life was short, Gigi was on her way to cementing her own legacy.
She was following in her father’s footsteps and was a skilled basketball player in her own right. At the time of her passing, she was traveling to the Mamba Academy, where she played ball under her father’s tutelage.
1. Her love of the game reignited her retired father’s passion, according to People Magazine.
“Before Gigi got into basketball I hardly watched it, but now that’s she’s into basketball, we watch every night,” Kobe shared on the All the Smoke podcast. However, Kobe wasn’t viewing it as a NBA champ, he was just a dad catering to his daughter’s interests.
“We just had so much fun because it was the first time I was seeing the game through her eyes,” he continued.
“It wasn’t me sitting there, you know, as an athlete or a player or something like that, and you know it’s like about me, and I don’t like that,” he added. “It was her, she was having such a good time.”
2. She was nicknamed after her father.
Kobe nicknamed his daughter mambacita, a play on his nickname The Black Mamba after she flawlessly shot “a familiar looking fade” during a November 2019 game.
4. She already knew which university she'd be gracing with her presence.
Gianna wasn’t even in high school yet but she already knew where she was going to college, per The Hartford Courant. When NBA legend Reggie Miller pressed Kobe to send Gigi to UCLA, the father of four told him she was “hellbent” on attending The University of Connecticut.
5. She had an idol in the WNBA.
“My daughter loves Gabby Williams, absolutely loves Gabby, loves [all of them],” Kobe said in April 2018. “She watches their interviews, watches how they play and learns — not just in wins, but in tough losses, how they conduct themselves. It’s great, as a parent, to be able to see my daughter pull inspiration from them.”
It's clear Gigi was going places and knowing her aspirations make this story even more tragic.