Two years ago today, Jan. 27, the world suffered a massive loss. Kobe Bryant, NBA champion, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna perished in a helicopter crash. Seven others, including the pilot, died with them. The group was on their way to a basketball game in a neighboring town. Gianna was being coached by her NBA legend father, along with dozens of other young female basketball players desperate for the WNBA. Though retired, Kobe poured into Gianna's talent, often accompanying her courtside to professional sporting events for an up-close-and-personal experience. Through Gianna's love of the game, he'd grown invested in female sports. He left behind a legacy of dedication and millions of mourners.
Kobe's widow Vannesa is continuing with his Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation while raising their three other daughters: Natalia, Bianka and Capri. As she works through her grief, she's also fighting for justice.
Since their deaths, Vanessa has been fighting the L.A. County Sheriff's Department for allegedly capturing and showing photos of Kobe and Gianna's remains. Vanessa learned of their deaths through phone alerts.
"I was holding onto my phone, because obviously I was trying to call my husband back, and all these notifications started popping up on my phone, saying 'RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe,'" Vanessa said during a deposition in the ongoing case, according to NY Daily News. Sheriff's confirmed the unthinkable hours later. She initially heard of the crash from her assistant who told her "there was an accident and that there were five survivors." She testified that she tried calling Kobe but could not get through to him, resulting in her calling her mother to look after her other two children.
After learning of their deaths, she spoke directly with police, telling them, "I said: If you can't bring my husband and baby back, please make sure no one takes photographs of them," Vanessa testified. "Please secure the area. And he said: I will." Apparently, they did not.
Vanessa is seeking damages for emotional distress. She also wants to ensure this never happens to another family. As Vanessa and her daughters mourn the losses of the NBA icon and his young daughter, other tributes continue to pour in.
Long live Kobe and Gianna
JUST IN: Statue of Kobe Bryant and daughter Gigi erected at site of fatal helicopter crash in Calabasas https://t.co/y6yyFmdzRj— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) January 26, 2022
There's now a statue of the father-daughter pair at the crash site. The statue was debuted today to commemorate the anniversary.prevnext
Memorialized in color
Two years ago today Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna passed away.
RIP to both of them ❤️ pic.twitter.com/N9a5ZLgD7J— LADbible (@ladbible) January 26, 2022
Murals of Kobe and Gianna can now be found in almost every major city. There are dozens in L.A. alone.prevnext
The NBA community hurts
Lamar Odom had this custom chain made in honor of Kobe and Gianna Bryant 🙏🕊 pic.twitter.com/uGK6ju6qyy— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) January 27, 2022
Lamar Odom won several championships alongside Kobe. Their relationship extended beyond the court as Kobe was present at the Las Vegas hospital where Odom recovered from a near-fatal overdose.prevnext
Dubai pays tribute to Kobe & Gianna Bryant on the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building (2020) pic.twitter.com/NWqil6H74j— Kobe Bryant Lakers Murals (@kobemurals) January 26, 2022
Love for Kobe and his love for his daughter extends beyond his contributions to basketball in L.A. Dubai paid tribute with a beautiful light show in the world's tallest building in honor of the second anniversary of their deaths.prevnext
2 years ago we lost Kobe and Gianna, but their memory continues to live on. MAMBA FOREVER. 💜💛 pic.twitter.com/6VR1VNZdq7— House of Highlights (@HoHighlights) January 26, 2022
Kobe was a proud "girl dad." But Gianna was his baby and the two bonded fiercely over basketball.prevnext