May 1, 2021 would have been Gianna Bryant’s 15th birthday.
The tragedy that took place on January 26, 2020 is still so unbelievable, despite already being more than a year in the distance. Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year old daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven others–John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, and Ara Zobayan–were killed in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles on their way to a basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy.
Before being taken from the world far too soon, the world knew Gigi as “Mambacita,” a basketball phenom who had a serious passion for the game, adamant on continuing Bryant’s basketball legacy, despite the NBA star ending up with four daughters.
While the Bryant family obviously gained a lot of attention from the tragedy, anyone who followed Kobe or his wife, Vanessa Bryant, on social media prior to that fateful day already knew just how close of a family they were. Finally retiring from his two decades in the NBA in 2016, Bryant still had his multiple business ventures, but more than anything, he was ready to dedicate all of his time to being the best father possible.
Gianna and Kobe shared a similar love of basketball, with the pair being spotted at multiple NBA and WNBA games together following the legend’s retirement. Just a few weeks before their untimely passing, footage of them at a game became a viral meme across social media, as fans just couldn’t get over their adorable bond.
As we celebrate what would have been Gigi’s 15th birthday, it’s only right to look back at some sweet memories of Bryant alongside family, friends, and doing what she loved the most: basketball.
Meeting Misty Copeland was a big moment for the whole family.
“My Gigi 😘❤️” Vanessa wrote.
Now a complete family with their youngest, Capri Bryant, in tow, the family dressed up as the whole squad from The Wizard of Oz for Halloween in 2019.
This video showcases another example of just how close Gianna was with her mom, with the pair perfecting their own handshake together.
Gianna loved witnessing women excel in sports, hanging out with basketball star Sue Bird and soccer star Megan Rapinoe.
There’s nothing more precious than pictures of Kobe and Gianna courtside–especially when they’re both wearing matching sneakers.
Nothing but smiles from everyone in the family as the celebrate Kobe’s big milestone: his 40th birthday.
The Bryant family Christmas card from 2018, before they welcomed their 4th daughter.
“Happy Mother’s Day @vanessabryant we love you and thank you for all that you do for our family,” Kobe wrote to Vannessa under a photo of the family while she was pregnant with their youngest, Capri. “You are the foundation of all that we hold dear. I love you #mybaby #lioness #mamabear #queenmamba.”
The 2009 NBA Championship win for the Lakers features some of the most precious moments between Kobe Bryant and his baby, Gigi.
Anyone who knows the Bryant family knows how much they love Disneyland, with an endless supply of pics featuring them having fun at the parks.
“Had a great trip to @uconnwbb for senior night and the retirement of basketball legend @promise50 with my baby Gigi,” Bryant wrote under this sweet photo. “Thank you Gampel, Thank you Coach Geno and Cd for the warm welcome. Good luck the rest of the way 💪🏾 #mambamentality #wizenard”
The Bryant family have always been big fans of all sports, which is only further proven by this throwback Kobe posted years ago.
“Bryant Ladies Ready!!” he wrote.
Kobe wished his daughter a Happy Birthday back in 2013, sharing an adorable photo from one of his championship wins with the Lakers.
“Happy Birthday to my Gianna, Gigi, Viva Boom,” he wrote. “Time has wings. #fatherslove #daddysgirl #babymamba #taurus”
“My Gigi plays 🏀like her daddy but she has long arms and long fingers like her mama,” V wrote. “Daddy’s long legs come in handy too 😉. Awe!😘😍 Congratulations Mambacita! So proud of you. #TeamMamba 🏆”
“My little angel,” Vanessa wrote about her then-10-year-old daughter in 2017.