On January 26, 2020, the world lost one of its legends when star basketball player Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash, on his way to Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks to take part in a tournament for young players. He was accompanied by his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, a basketball star in the making, who also died in the crash over Calabasas, California, that killed all the nine people onboard. 

Gianna, already an ace basketball player, was due to play in the tournament and Bryant was going to coach. As the world mourns the tragic demic of Kobe Bryant, let’s know his 13-year-old daughter, a star in the making, a little better:

1. Bryant saw Gianna as the heir to his legacy

As you must know, Gianna, the second of Bryant’s four daughters, shared her father’s love for basketball.  She hoped to play for the University of Connecticut and one day make it to the Women’s National Basketball Association.

Bryant described her as “something else” when she was on the court and saw himself in her passion for the game, something he shared during an appearance on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" in 2018. 

 “The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans would come up to me and she’ll be standing next to me,” Bryant said, “and they’ll be like, ‘You’ve gotta have a boy, you and V gotta have a boy. You gotta have somebody to carry on your tradition, the legacy.”

"She's like, 'Oy, I got this," Bryant added. "I'm like that's right. Yes, you do, you got this."

2. Gigi was there when Kobe played his final game in 2016 

She was right in the front row when he dropped 60 points against the Utah Jazz, giving the celebrated career the perfect retirement it deserved.

3. When Kobe retired, he coached Gigi and her AAU team

Kobe coached Gigi and her middle school basketball team. He often posted videos of her continuously improving basketball skills on Instagram. The duo was often spotted, enjoying games together, while Kobe broke down the plays to his daughter. 

4. Gigi was given the nickname "Mambacita" by fans 

The nickname was a play of words on Bryant’s moniker "Black Mamba" he was famously known for

5. Gigi had a competitive streak like her father

In a 2014 interview, Bryant recounted a game of Candyland they played together when she was 3. "You know, it's my move," he said. "She obviously can see that I can win, so she'll know that I'm not winning on purpose. Then what's that teaching?"

So, Bryant went ahead and won the game, something Gianna didn’t take well and she knocked over the game board. "I was, like, 'S**t, the kid's like me,'" Bryant shared.