Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were two of nine victims in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Sunday, on their way to Gianna's team's basketball game at Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks.
Gianna Maria-Onore, known as Gigi, was the second-eldest of Bryant's four daughters and hoped to follow in her father's footsteps and become a basketball legend in her own right. She loved the game of basketball and already knew which college she wanted to attend, traveling to Lakers games, WNBA games and college games, all with Bryant by her side.
Scroll through to learn more about the father-daughter duo's special bond.
She is the second of Bryant's four daughters
Bryant and his wife, Vanessa Bryant, welcomed four daughters together — Natalia, 17, Gianna, 13, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months. After his retirement in 2016, Bryant's main focus became his family, and he wanted to spend as much time with his girls as possible.
"You have, like, road trips and times where you don't see your kids," he told Alex Rodriguez on Barstool Sports' podcast The Corp with A-Rod and Big Cat. "So every chance I get to see them, to spend time with them, even if it's 20 minutes in the car."
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She loved basketball
Gianna, like her dad, had a love for the sport, working hard to become great. In 2019, a video of the teenager's basketball highlights went viral, and Bryant called his daughter "something else" on the court.
"What I love about Gigi is her curiosity about the game," he told the Los Angeles Times of his daughter last year. "She's very curious. Even in a heated situation in a game where it's going back and forth, she can detach herself and come to me and ask a very specific question, which is not common. She'll come over and say, 'OK, on this particular trap when I'm trying to close the gap but she's getting on the outside, do I need to change my angle?' It's a very specific question. That's pretty damn cool."prevnext
Her dad coached her team
Bryant served as a coach for his daughter's team at the Mamba Sports Academy, the training facility he opened in Thousand Oaks, California after his retirement. On the day they died, Byant and Gianna were traveling to the academy along with other members of Gianna's team and their parents, as well as another coach, for a game.
In 2018, Bryant told Jimmy Kimmel that his goal as a coach is to "try to teach the kids what excellence looks like" and that "we try to give them a foundation of the amount of work and preparation that it takes to be excellent in whatever it is that you choose to do."
She was ready to carry on her father's legacy
Bryant also told Kimmel that he got a kick out of fans telling him he should have a son to carry on the family tradition, something Gianna was planning to do herself.
"This kid, man," he said. "The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans come up to me, and she'll be standing next to me and they'll be like: 'You've got to have a boy. You and [Vanessa] have got to have a boy, someone to carry on the tradition, the legacy.' And she's like, 'Oh, I got this.'"
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She and Kobe loved to go to Lakers games
Bryant would occasionally take his daughter to sit courtside at Lakers games, where they would discuss the sport together. The former Laker didn't attend many games after his retirement in order to spend more time with his family, but that changed as a result of Gianna's interest in basketball.
"We just had so much fun because it was the first time I was seeing the game through her eyes," Bryant said on the Showtime Basketball podcast All the Smoke. "It wasn't me sitting there as an athlete or a player or something like that. … It was her — she was having such a good time."
"[Bryant has] got one of the greatest female basketball players that's about to come up sitting next to him," current Laker LeBron James said after a game in November," according to the Washington Post. "I'm just trying to put on a show for them."prevnext
She wanted to play for UConn
In 2018, Bryant was captured having a conversation with NBA Hall of Famer Reggie Miller during which he said that Gianna was "hell-bent" on attending the University of Connecticut despite Miller's push for UCLA. In 2017, Bryant took his daughter to the UConn locker room, where she got to meet some of the players as well as coach Geno Auriemma. Gianna and her dad also attended several of the team's games, and Bryant told The Courant in 2018 that Gianna looked up to now-graduated UConn player Gabby Williams.0comments
"My daughter loves Gabby Williams, absolutely loves Gabby, loves [all of them]," he said. "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."
Photo Credit: Getty / Andrew D. Bernsteinprev