Kobe Bryant was a legend on the basketball court, but he was also beloved as an iconic celebrity dad. The Lakers player was known for his commitment to his daughters, and his relationship with Gianna gave fans plenty of chances to see that. Now, fans are looking back on the iconic father-daughter duo.
Bryant was famous for his enthusiasm about being a "girl dad." While he was committed to all three of his children, he was seen out in public with Gianna most often. Gianna shared his love of basketball, and intended to follow in his footsteps as a pro athlete.
Bryant and Gianna were flying to her team's first basketball tournament when they died on Sunday, Jan. 26. The helicopter was carrying them, two of Gianna's teenage teammates, three parents, one assistant coach and the pilot. There were no survivors.
At 13 years old, Gianna was already becoming a familiar sight to NBA fans as she tagged along to games with her dad. Her parents also proudly shared the highlights of her own games on social media, leaving the whole world even more intimately aware of Vanessa Bryant's pain when she passed.
"God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to him together," Vanessa said of her late husband and daughter at their memorial last week. "Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nati, Bibi and Koko. We're still the best team. We love and miss you, Boo Boo and Gigi."
"May you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day," she went on. "We love you both and miss you. Forever and always, Mommy."
Here are some fan-favorite photos from Bryant and Gianna's time together in the spotlight.
Gianna was by her father's side at all times from a young age. This photo comes from a Los Angeles Lakers game in November of 2008, before Bryant's retirement, when Gianna was just over 2 years old.
On the Court
By 9 years old, Gianna was already following her father out onto the court to play, not just to watch. This picture comes from the NBA All-Star Game in 2016, where Gianna came out to warm up with her father and the other basketball greats.
There could be no doubt that the love between Bryant and his daughter was genuine, as they were frequently spotted hugging and laughing together at big public events. The sight was a breath of fresh air for any onlookers.
Deep in Conversation
It was not just that Bryant and Gianna were often seen together in public, but also that they were constantly chatting that made fans love their dynamic. Many candid shots show them deep in conversation, including this one from the Phillips 66 National Swimming Championships in 2018.
Enjoying the Show
Plenty of pictures found Gianna and Bryant clearly enjoying the events they were at, which endeared them to fans as well. They brought an air of humanity to an eschalon of fame that is often hard for the average person to relate to, and they seemed to genuinely enjoy the privileges that came with it.
For all the serious candid shots of the pair, there were many more that found them laughing and enjoying the show like this one. To see a veteran like Bryant getting to walk his daughter through the sport he loved with fresh eyes was something fans loved and envied.
They were a meme last week and now today they are a memory. My heart's breaking is literally breaking. She was starting to follow her dad's footsteps. Gone way too soon both of them 😭💔💔— ℓιz ѕтσям ♡'ѕ мιѕн (@zcarushours) January 26, 2020
Rip Kobe and Gianna. #Kobe #BlackMamba pic.twitter.com/B10gOTo0kC
At the time of their death, fans were more familiar than ever with Bryant and Gianna's joking, conspiratorial dynamic thanks to a viral video from December. It showed the two whispering and chuckling together at a basketball game, and fans put plenty of captions over it in the month before the helicopter crash. The meme now makes many that much more sad.
On The Jumbotron
Finally, in the month since Bryant and Gianna's deaths, many fans have become all too accustomed to seeing them projected onto massive screens and jumbotrons, including the montages played at the "Celebration of Life" memorial service last week at the Staples Center. The bittersweet photos have immortalized them in minds across the world.