Gianna Bryant, 13-year-old daughter of Kobe, dies in helicopter crash alongside father

By Chevaz Clarke

/ CBS News

Kobe Bryant remembered as NBA legend & father

Kobe Bryant's 13-year-old Gianna, who went by "Gigi," died in the helicopter crash that also killed her father, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. Gianna, who also goes by "Gigi," was the 41-year-old's second-oldest daughter with his wife Vanessa Bryant.

The five-time NBA champion, who played his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers, was in a helicopter with eight others when it crashed in Calabasas, California on Sunday, killing everyone on board.

"The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna," Silver said in a statement.

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Bryant and Vanessa Bryant have three other daughters together, Natalia Diamante, 17, Bianka Bella, 3, and Capri Kobe, who was born in June 2019.

The NBA star passed his love for the game onto his daughter Gianna, who was an aspiring basketball player.

The proud father often uploaded clips of his daughter playing their favorite sport on social media. "Gigi getting better every day #teammamba #mambacita #fade," Bryant wrote on one Instagram post.

View this post on Instagram

Gigi getting better every day #teammamba #mambacita #fade

A post shared by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on

In his retirement, Bryant coached Gianna's middle school basketball team.

"It's been fun!" he told Entertainment Tonight in December 2018. "We've been working together for a year and a half and they've improved tremendously in that time. I've got a group of great parents, a group of really, really intelligent, hardworking girls, and — they're all seventh graders, they're all 12 years old — but they've been playing so well!"

"Gianna's pretty easy to coach," he continued. "We haven't had any issues of dad-daughter sort of thing. She's very competitive and she's a hard worker, so there haven't been any issues with that."

The teen also frequently attended NBA games with her father. The close duo were spotted courtside last month at the Barclays Center in New York City.

One of our final images of Kobe Bryant wasn’t him slashing, scoring, or winning.
It was teaching, coaching, and parenting. pic.twitter.com/V3VfChPLAJ

— Mitch Fick (@MCFick) January 26, 2020

"Before Gigi got into basketball I hardly watched it, but now that's she's into basketball, we watch every night," Bryant shared on the "All the Smoke" podcast in January.

Gianna had dreams of playing on the University of Connecticut's women's basketball team. Back in 2017, the Huskies fan hung out with the UConn women's basketball team when they were in Los Angeles. "Thank you @uconnwbb for treating our baby girl to a night she will never forget #uconn," Kobe Bryant posted on Instagram at the time.

View this post on Instagram

Thank you @uconnwbb for treating our baby girl to a night she will never forget #uconn

A post shared by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on

View this post on Instagram

Had a great trip to @uconnwbb for senior night and the retirement of basketball legend @promise50 with my baby Gigi. Thank you Gampel, Thank you Coach Geno and Cd for the warm welcome. Good luck the rest of the way 💪🏾 #mambamentality #wizenard

A post shared by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on

In light of the tragic news, the team tweeted that "Mamba Mentality will live on forever."

Kobe and Gianna meant a lot to our program. Our thoughts are with the Bryant family.

Mamba Mentality will live on forever, but they are deeply missed. 💙 pic.twitter.com/4Ib96yFxgg

— UConn Women's Hoops (@UConnWBB) January 26, 2020

The death of the NBA legend and his daughter sent shockwaves through the community, with tributes pouring in from former NBA stars, including former teammate Shaquille O'Neal.

"There's no words to express the pain I'm going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed," tweeted O'Neal. "My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW."

There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW pic.twitter.com/pigHywq3c1

— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020

Former President Obama, who is also an avid basketball fan, also paid his condolences to the Bryant family.

"Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act," Obama tweeted. "To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day."

Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 26, 2020

First published on January 26, 2020 / 7:27 PM

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