Kobe Bryant was the coach of his daughter, Gianna’s basketball team at the time of their death. He delighted in watching the NBA games with her almost every night and supported her hopes of playing for the WNBA.
Kobe Bryant’s death sent shockwaves all over the world and was especially tragic because he was joined by his daughter, Gianna. Many knew her as the one most likely to carry on her father’s legacy as she shared his passion for basketball. At the time of her passing, she was being coached by her father who also took her to watch this season’s NBA games almost every night.
When news of Kobe’s death broke, many mourned his loss and were equally saddened over the loss of his daughter who was most like him.
The second of four children, Gianna Maria Onore, who Kobe fondly called “Gigi” and “Mamacita” had dreams of playing for the WNBA one day. Much like her father, Gianna was skilled in basketball and Kobe was honing that skill as her coach.
After he retired from the NBA in 2016, Kobe hardly watched the games live. But this year, he delighted in accompanying Gianna to almost every game of the NBA season.
Kobe and Gianna were on their way to basketball practice at his Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, California when the private helicopter they were taking crashed Sunday morning.
Seven other people with them including a parent and another player didn’t survive as well. Kobe and Gianna left behind his wife, Vanessa Bryant, and their three other children, daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 6 months.
Gianna had a promising life ahead of her as the one most likely to carry on her father’s torch in basketball. Recognizing his daughter’s potential, Kobe saw to it that it was properly honed. He was the coach of Gianna’s team, the Los Angeles Lady Mambas and even bragged about a 6-year-program he had planned for the team.
Gianna would often feature on Kobe’s Instagram due to the many times they spent together sharing their common love for basketball. After he retired from the NBA in 2016, Kobe hardly watched the games live. But this year, he delighted in accompanying Gianna to almost every game of the NBA season.
“We just had so much fun because it was the first time I was seeing the game through her eyes,” Kobe said during an interview with the Showtime Basketball podcast, “The Smoke.”
Kobe was also proud that Gianna shoots like him. In fact, just a week ago, he posted a clip of her making a fadeaway shot that reminded fans of Kobe’s own expertise with the ring during his time.
As a father of four girls and hoping for a fifth at the time of his death, Kobe wasn’t bothered about not having a boy to carry on his legacy. Speaking to Jimmy Kimmel in 2018, he shared that Gianna was very much up to the task. He recounted that when people would egg him to have a boy to “carry on the tradition,” Gianna would say, “‘I got this. No boy for that, I got this.'”
It is heartbreaking that we would never get to see the day when Gianna would be making waves as her father did during his prime time in basketball. But we’re certain that wherever they are now, they’re playing the best games they’ve ever played.
We join the world in mourning the loss of Kobe and Gianna and pray that their families find comfort in this tragic time.