Giana (Gigi) Bryant, the second-eldest daughter of Basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, was dubbed “Mambacita,” a name that was an apt representation of her love for basketball and the passion she had for the Mamba legacy.
Gigi shared her father’s love for the game and intended to one day follow in her father’s footsteps and play professional basketball in the WNBA. She was 13 years old when she died in a helicopter crash, along with NBA legend Kobe Bryant in Calabasas, California, on Sunday, 26th January 2020.
Gigi quite literally grew up watching Kobe dominate the NBA, she was present for many of his biggest moments, including his first and only NBA MVP award in 2008, the moment he received the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, winning his fourth NBA championship and his first NBA Finals MVP award.
From the time she was a child, she was keenly watching her father’s moves at Lakers games, watching him transition into “the black mamba,” she quickly turned from a young idolizer to his mentee and heir-apparent to his basketball legacy. Like her father, Gigi only had eyes for basketball.
As she got older, Gigi became an active court-side participant at Kobe’s games, she studied his movements and began to learn the game through his example. Gigi was dubbed “Mambacita” after her father posted videos of her daughter, displaying her raw talent and his support
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Kobe Bryant speaking to Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes on Showtime’s All The Smoke podcast, about his daughter’s drive for the game said “Before Gigi got into basketball, I hardly watched it (in retirement), but now that she’s into basketball, we watch every night… We just had so much fun because it was the first time I was seeing the game through her eyes. It wasn’t me sitting there as an athlete or a player or something like that. … It was her — she was having such a good time.”
“The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans will come up to me, and she’ll be standing next to me,” Kobe told Jimmy Kimmel back in 2018. “And they’ll be like, ‘Man, you gotta have a boy. You and V gotta have a boy, man, have somebody carry on your tradition, the legacy.’ And she’s like, ‘Oy, I got this. You don’t need no boy for that. I got this.’ And I’m like, ‘That’s right. Yes, you do. You got this.'”
Gigi didn’t just see basketball like an ordinary game, even at 13 years old, she had big plans to live her dream, and carry on her family’s legacy, she lived with purpose doing what she loved, at her father’s side.