There was a reason Kobe Bryant referred to his 13-year-old daughter as “Mambacita” in his Instagram posts.
Gianna Bryant, the second-eldest daughter of Kobe who was among the nine victims in Sunday’s tragic helicopter crash, was a spitting image of her father. The two bonded over their shared passion of basketball, and Gianna had a relentless determination and mindset to be the best, just like her father.
In an old ABC News clip, Kobe sounded like a proud parent as he spoke about his daughter's big basketball dreams.
“My daughter Gianna, she loves to play. So her and I will go out and shoot often,” he said. “She has it all mapped out in her head already. Things change when you’re kids, obviously, but she’s like ‘I’m going to go to high school and win state championships. I’m going to the University of UConn and I’m going to play for Geno [Auriemma]. She has her Huskies shirts and she does not take those things off.’”
Kobe and Gianna were reportedly on their way to Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif. — where he coached Gianna’s AAU basketball team — when the helicopter crashed.
Several clips surfaced Sunday night of Kobe coaching Gianna and the two sitting courtside at NBA games and UConn games, displaying a one of a kind bond over basketball between father and daughter.