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May 1, 2021 would have been Gianna Bryant’s 15th birthday.

WNBA All-Star Game 2019

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty

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.

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