Gianna Bryant had passion playing basketball for the Mamba team.

I was compelled to acknowledge Gianna Bryant because she was following in her father’s foot steps to become a professional basketball player. One can only imagine the amount of knowledge first hand she received to be as good as she was at thirteen years old. While all this is good and amazing, I simply found a photo to draw and write something. As I read more about her dad, Kobe Bryant, and all that he was doing I kept asking questions like ‘what was Mamba?’. What was the mamba mentality that was a driving philosophy for up and coming players? Gianna was in the center of this branding universe. 

I thought about my days many years ago when I played basketball and remembered it was very competitive, aggressive, requiring strong determination. Watching GiGi play reminded me how good she was already! Her shot making, and her defensive hustle clearly exemplified her intensity for the game. GiGi was an athlete first and foremost. No matter her level of experience, she was a team player, an accurate shooter, and an aggressive defender. I realize she was coming up in the shadow of her famous and legendary dad, yet her desire, passion and talent could not be denied. She deserves to be remembered for all the kid athletes, all the young girls who wants a career in sports and her attitude that says ‘so what’ I am not a favored son, “I got this”, a comment that gives the biggest and proudest smile on her dad’s face having told this story on Late Nite TV.  

Gianna Bryant chose her father’s trade, basketball, with the confidence and pride of a young daughter. Her acquired love of the game convinced, Kobe Bryant, the legendary player and dad, to renew his interest by seeing the game through Gianna’s eyes and enthusiasm. GiGi, her nickname, had idols that were Kobe’s former basketball competitors such as LeBron James, now part of the Laker family. Her father was also her coach and both were headed to The Member Sport Academy to play a basketball game when the helicopter they were in went down. 

Her elder sibling, Natalia, is almost as tall as her dad at seventeen, next Gianna surrounded by younger sisters Bianka and Capri. The sports facility to which they were traveling was developed by Kobe Bryant and named The Mamba Sports Academy where her home court team had looked forward to a basketball game. The story behind the team name Mamba comes from her father’s self branding of ‘Black Mamba’. Gianna benefited from her father’s notable philosophy Mamba Mentality that became his brand of basketball. Her excitement about basketball enlisted her father’s support for Women’s Basketball. Gianna was surely headed for the limelight with a legendary dad, Kobe, at her back.

GiGi showed us that embracing her father’s basketball passion opened her up to the possibility of mastery in the sport. It is our loss that this young protagonist will not be able to show us her full potential. On that fateful day, January 26, 2020, a typical helicopter ride usually to avoid traffic, Kobe and Gianna Bryant along with seven other persons who were teammates, parents, coaches, and pilot perished.  The news stated the helicopter slammed against a hill, just 20 to 30 feet from set down, 45 minutes out from where they began, due to dense fog without visibility. This crash caused a sudden and fast drop into an explosion taking all lives on board. 

Lillianonline captures young Gianna’s life on this blog as our protagonist to ensure that, as the daughter of Kobe Bryant, her young and developing life would not be in vain. Blessings to the Bryant Family during this impossible time of grief. May young GiGi be remembered for her passion for basketball because of her legendary father, Kobe Bryant. 

Art & Article written by Lillian L Thompson 1/31/2020 the week Kobe and Gianna Bryant lost their lives in a helicopter crash in California. Young Gianna will not be forgotten.

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