Kobe and Gianna Bryant: Their Memory Will Forever Live On


Kobe Bryant pictured with Gianna Bryant at a basketball game.

Summer Cochran, Staff Writer

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant died in a horrible helicopter crash on January 26 with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna (“Gigi”) and seven others.

Only 41, Bryant left quite a mark on the world. From 1996 to 2016, he played basketball for the NBA directly out of high school–a 20-season career with the Lakers and the Charlotte Hornets. According to Wikipedia, “Bryant won five NBA championships, was an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, 12-time member of the All-Defensive Team, was named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), and was a two-time NBA Finals MVP winner.” He was a very successful and talented player, obviously. The world went silent at the announcement of his death. His family and teammates continue to remember him.

Three days after the crash, CNN and other news outlets published an Instagram post by Bryant’s wife Vanessa that read:

“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org. To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org. Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family ❤️”

Kobe and Vanessa had been married nearly 20 years & have three remaining daughters: Natalia (17), Bianka (3), and Capri (7 months). Vanessa’s social media accounts had to be made private for a few days because they kept crashing due to all the messages of love and support. When she reactivated her account, the profile picture had been changed to feature a tender moment between Gigi and her father on Valentine’s Day 2016, right before Bryant’s final NBA All-Star game.

This is a devastating time for basketball lovers and players, but Kobe and Gigi’s memories will forever live on.

Kobe and Gianna during the NBA All-Star Game 2016 at the Air Canada Centre on February 14, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.