Days before Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant's untimely deaths, Vanessa Bryant shared a slew of photos on Instagram of her daughter's skills on the basketball court, and it serves as an emotional reminder that Gianna was destined to follow in her father's footsteps.
On Jan. 15, Vanessa posted a photo of Gianna playing a bit of defense during one of her games at the Mamba Sports Academy. She captioned the post with a simple "Wingspan" to highlight her daughter's wide, defensive stance. Vanessa also included the hashtag, "Mambacita," a nod to her daughter's nickname, which is itself a play on Kobe's established "Black Mamba" moniker.
In a separate photo, also posted on Jan. 15, Vanessa showcased one of Gigi's drives to the hoop. It should also be noted that both of these posts now feature Vanessa's new Instagram profile photo, which happens to be a sweet snap of Kobe and Gianna embracing. Her profile photo move marks the first time that she has publicly addressed the tragic deaths of her husband and daughter.
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Vanessa's photos highlight the fact that Gianna was on her way to becoming an established basketball star in her own right. Gianna, or "GiGi," and Kobe enjoyed a close bond because of their connection to the sport. In October 2018, during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kobe even spoke about how his daughter would be the one to carry on his legacy.
"The best thing that happens is when we go out, and fans come up to me, she'll be standing next to me and they'll be like, 'You gotta have a boy. You and [Vanessa] gotta have a boy. Gotta have someone carry on the tradition,'" Kobe told host Jimmy Kimmel. "She's like, 'Oy, I got this! You don't need no boy for that, I got this.'"
"That's right. Yes you do," Kobe added with a bright smile on his face.
Kobe, Gianna, and seven others were tragically killed in a helicopter crash that occurred on Sunday, Jan. 26 in Calabasas, California. The group was reportedly on their way to a basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy when the incident happened, according to TMZ. Kobe and Gianna are survived by the former Lakers' wife Vanessa and the couple's three daughters, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.