Kobe and Gianna, whom he called Gigi, were on their way to his Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks for basketball practice when their helicopter crashed. Kobe coached his daughter’s AAU basketball game called “The Mambas.”
Gianna, whom Kobe and Vanessa welcomed on May 1, 2006, leaves behind her mother, and one older sister, Natalia, who turned 17-years-old last week. She also leaves younger sisters, Bianka, 3-years-old, and Capri, 6-months-old. Giana attended Sierra Canyon School in Los Angeles, California, where she played basketball.
Gianna Loved Basketball Like Her NBA Superstar Dad
Kobe and Gigi courtside breaking down the game ???? pic.twitter.com/FxqSjVx6ew
— ESPN (@espn) December 22, 2019
After his 2016 retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe rarely watched NBA games — but his daughter Gianna recently changed that. This season, they had watched NBA League Pass nearly every night because of her love for the game.
Kobe also recently took Gianna to see the Lakers play.
“We just had so much fun because it was the first time I was seeing the game through her eyes,” Kobe said of watching the game with Gianna.
“It wasn’t me sitting there, you know, as an athlete or a player or something like that, and you know it’s like about me, and I don’t like that,” he added. “It was her. She was having such a good time.”
During the game, ESPN tweeted a video of Kobe explaining the game to Gianna as they sat courtside. Kobe talked about how much he enjoyed watching the NBA with Gianna, according to a People report.
“Before Gigi got into basketball, I hardly watched it, but now that she’s into basketball, we watch every night,” Kobe told former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson during a recent podcast.
Gianna Had A Familiar Fade & A Familiar Nickname
Just one week ago, Kobe posted a video of his daughter shooting during one of The Mambas basketball games, and Yahoo Sports reported on her shot seeming like it created a deja vu moment from back in November 2019. Commenters noted that Gigi’s shot looked an awful lot like Kobe’s from his time in the NBA.
In the caption of the clip, Kobe referred to Gigi as “mambacita,” using a version of his nickname, The Black Mamba. “That fade away looks familiar. I can’t remember why tho…,” replied Overtime.
Gianna Wanted To Be A UCONN Huskie
Talk of college was discussed with regard to Gianna’s future. At 5-foot, 10-inches tall, she had hoped to play for the Uconn Huskies one day, according to The Hartford Courant.
“She is hellbent on UConn. Really,” Kobe shared with Hall of Famer Reggie Miller as they chatted after post-game interviews in 2018.
Last March, Kobe took Gianna to UConn’s senior night, and he thanked the team for the warm welcome the father and daughter received at the game. Gianna even took a picture with the team in their locker room during the visit, which came shortly before her 13th birthday last spring.
The Meaning Of Gianna
Gianna is an Italian name that is a diminutive form of Giovanna. The name means “God is gracious” or “the Lord is gracious.” It is a Latin feminization of the name “John.” The name gained popularity in the United States, in part because Kobe and Vanessa chose the moniker for their second daughter.
In 2018, Gianna was the 80th most popular girl’s name. The nickname “Gigi” — which is what Kobe often called his daughter in his Instagram posts — is typical for Gianna.