Gone too soon. On this day in 2020, Gianna ‘Gigi’ Bryant and her father, the great Kobe Bean Bryant were two of nine passengers who tragically died in a helicopter crash in Southern California. One year after her death, we’re remembering Gianna, who would’ve turned 15 this year in May, with a look back at her life in photos.
Gianna is survived by her mother Vanessa Bryant and her three sisters — Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and little Capri, who will turn two in June. Family meant everything to Gianna, who must’ve gotten that from her father, whose good friend Derek Jeter said in a tribute after his death, that his most memorable conversations with the Lakers Legend were about his family.
Kobe always made it a point to include his daughters and wife in any major event. On February 26, 2018, Kobe, Vanessa, Natalia and Gianna attended the LA premiere of Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time. The foursome looked so excited in red carpet photos from the event.
Following the January 26 helicopter accident, which claimed the lives of some of Gianna’s basketball teammates, the entire world was rocked by the loss of such immense talent, inspiration, and potential. Gianna was a budding basketball player, who trained alongside her father and had dreams of attending UConn to play college ball. One of her biggest goals was to make it to the WNBA to play professionally. During the 2020 WNBA Draft, the league honored Gianna, Payton Chester, and Alyssa Altobelli, who also perished in the crash, with honorary draft picks.
Reggie Miller tries to convince Kobe Bryant to send his daughter to play basketball at UCLA but he says she is hellbent on going to UConn. pic.twitter.com/zz1D5SbFe8
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) October 26, 2018
“Thank you so much for honoring my Gigi and selecting her to be an honorary draft pick this year. It would’ve been a dream come true for her,” Vanessa, holding back tears, shared during the ESPN broadcast.
On the day after the helicopter crash, UConn memorialized Gianna by keeping an open seat on their bench covered white flowers and a special Huskies jersey with her signature No. 2 on the back. “Mambacita is forever a Husky,” UConn wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of Gianna’s decorated chair.
Gianna’s future was clearly so bright. Even her beloved, ‘Girl Dad’ father recognized her potential for greatness. “Fans will come up to me and she’ll be standing next to me and they’ll say, ‘Hey, you’ve gotta have a boy! You and V gotta have a boy to carry on your tradition, the legacy,’” Kobe once recounted to Jimmy Kimmel during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. But, it was Gianna who ardently told her father’s fans, “Oi, I got this.” Kobe couldn’t help but beam while recollecting the story, telling his daughter, “That’s right! You got it!”
There are so many more precious moments between Gianna and her family to look back on. To see more photos of Vanessa and Kobe’s beloved daughter with her family, check out the gallery above.