'RIP Gianna' Trends on Twitter During Kobe Bryant and Daughter's Celebration of Life Memorial

While mourners gathered at the Staples Center Monday afternoon to remember Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant at their celebration of life memorial, those at home sent their condolences on Twitter with the hashtag "RIP Gianna." The hashtag, along with "Farewell Kobe," trended on Twitter nationally, showing just how strong a mark Gianna left behind. Bryant, 41, and Gianna, 13, died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 in Calabasas, California, with seven others.

During the memorial, Bryant's widow and Gianna's mother Vanessa Bryant chose to speak about Gianna first, paying tribute to her daughter's dreams and the love shared between father and daughter.

"God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to him together," Vanessa said, fighting back tears before delivering a message directly to Bryant.

"Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nati, Bibi and Coco," Vanessa said, referring to their three other daughters. "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. We love you both and miss you. Forever and always. Mommy."

Vanessa also called Gianna an "amazingly sweet and gentle soul" who was "always thoughtful."

"She always kissed me goodnight and kissed me good morning," she told the audience. "There were a few occasions where I was absolutely tired from being up with Bianka and Capri and I thought she had left for school without saying goodbye. I text and say 'No kiss?' and Gianna would reply with, 'Mama, I kissed you but you were asleep and I didn't want to wake you.'"

"She knew how much her morning and evening kisses meant to me," Vanessa explained. "She was so thoughtful to remember to kiss me every day. She was daddy's girl but I know she loved her mama. She would always tell me and show me how much she loved me. She was one of my very best friends. She loved faith, she loved putting a smile on everyone's faces."

Gianna loved basketball as much as her father, and Vanessa was sure she would have become a great WNBA player.

Gianna dreamed of playing for legendary University of Connecticut women's basketball head coach Geno Auriemma, who spoke during the memorial. He shared a story about Gianna watching one of his team's games with Bryant, who made sure he was not in Gianna's photo with the team. Bryant wanted the moment to be all about Gianna.

"The look on her face, the smile, the way her eyes just took everything in," Auriemma said. "How excited she was to be around – in her mind – royalty. It's ironic. Her father's royalty and she's excited to be around royalty that looks just like what she wants to be."


Bryant and Gianna were on their way to a basketball tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy on the day of the crash. The other victims were John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Ara Zobayan and Christina Mauser.

Photo credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images