On Jan. 26, the professional sports community and regular people alike mourned the death of retired NBA player Kobe Bryant. The former Los Angeles Lakers player, 41, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas on Sunday morning, TMZ reported.
Nine people were confirmed dead in the crash, and an investigation into its cause is ongoing.
Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, was following in her father’s footsteps on the hardwood before dying with him in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday.
The second-oldest of Kobe’s four daughters, 13-year-old Gianna Maria Onore — known as “Gigi” — was headed with her dad to his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, according to multiple news outlets.
During a 2018 appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Kobe was asked if Gianna “might want to play in the WNBA.”
“She does, for sure,” the proud papa responded.
Kobe also described how Gianna, the second-oldest of his four daughters, typically reacted when fans approached and urged him and his wife, Vanessa, to “have a boy” to “carry on the tradition, the legacy.”
“She’s like… ‘I got this. Ain’t no boy for that. I got this,’” he said.
“I’m like, ‘That’s right. Yes, you do. You got this.’”
On Instagram, Kobe referred to Gianna as the “Mambacita,” in reference to his self-anointed “Black Mamba” nickname.
“Happy 13th birthday my Gigi! I love you beyond measure baby #teen #daddysgirl #tauro #mambacita,” he captioned a pair of photos on May 1.
In November, the former Los Angeles Lakers superstar also posted a video clip from a game that shows Gianna dribbling down the court and past a defender before scoring a swish from the baseline.
“I hate seeing my #teammamba girls play against each other. This is GREAT defense by our mamba pg Alyssa Altobelli and a familiar looking fade by our 2gd the #Mambacita,” he wrote.
After retiring in 2016, Kobe began coaching Gianna’s middle school team, he told Entertainment Tonight.
“Gianna’s pretty easy to coach,” he said in 2018.
“We haven’t had any issues of dad-daughter sort of thing. She’s very competitive and she’s a hard worker, so there haven’t been any issues with that.”
That same year, he also revealed that Gianna was hoping to play college hoops for the University of Connecticut’s powerhouse women’s team, the Huskies.
“She is hellbent on UConn. Really,” Kobe was overheard telling former Indiana Pacers star Reggie Miller following a Lakers game at the Los Angeles Staples Center in 2018.
Former pilot claims Kobe’s helicopter was a ‘limousine,’ had strong safety record.
As news of Kobe’s untimely passing spread in waves across social media, fans naturally thought of the basketball superstar’s family. He is survived by his wife, Vanessa, along with their three other daughter.