Three years ago, the world received the news that would change lives forever: the death of Kobe and Gianna Bryant. On January 26, 2020, the two died in a helicopter crash along with other resident passengers, John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser, and Ara Zobayan.
The death of Kobe and Gianna Bryant hits even harder, not just because the culture lost another icon, but because Gianna “GiGi” Bryant lost her life at 13.
Since their death, widow and mother Vanessa Bryant has done everything she can to keep their name and legacy alive.
In 2021, Kobe Bryant was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and Vanessa Bryant accepted the award in his place.
“There will never be anyone like Kobe,” Vanessa said. “Kobe was one of a kind. He was special. He was humble [off the court]. But bigger than life. He never forgot about his fans. If he could help it, he would play every minute of every game. He loved you all so much.”
The most significant remembrance of the father-daughter duo is the nonprofit foundation known as the Mamba & Mambacita Foundation. The organization’s mission is to create opportunities for children in sports while honoring the memory of Kobe and Gianna.
In September 2020, Vanessa filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County sheriff and fire departments after sharing photos of the helicopter crash scene. She later won the case and donated $16 million to the foundation.
On May 1, 2022, Nike released a “Mambacita Sweet 16” show to honor Gianna Bryant’s 16th birthday, where all proceeds went toward the foundation. The legacy of Kobe and Gianna runs strong three years later as we all continue to personify the mamba mentality.
About Kenyatta: Clark Atlanta University and Medill School alumna Kenyatta Victoria is the Girls United writer covering everything from news, pop culture, lifestyle, and investigative stories. When she’s not reporting, she’s diving deep into her curated playlists or binging her favorite comfort shows.