She was a star in the making.
She was just a teen following in her superstar father's footsteps. Gianna Maria-Onore "GiGi" Bryant always made it clear that although her basketball icon dad Kobe Bryant didn't have any sons, she was still capable enough to carry on his legacy. Their last moments together were reportedly at church that fateful Sunday (January 26) morning before they would attempt to make their way to Kobe's Mamba Sports Academy along with seven others for basketball practice. Sadly, they would perish together in a helicopter crash along with seven others.
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Like millions of others, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team was devastated by the news of the Los Angeles Lakers legend and his daughter's passing. "Kobe and Gianna meant a lot to our program. Our thoughts are with the Bryant family," the team shared on its Instagram page after verifying news reports. "Mamba Mentality will live on forever, but they are deeply missed. 💙." On Monday, the team returned with another post, this time in tribute to Gianna.
"Mambacita is forever a Husky 💙," the wrote in the caption of a photo that showed a #2 UConn jersey draped over a seat with a bouquet of flowers. They made sure to set aside a special place for the late 13-year-old basketball player at their game against Team USA on Monday evening. Check out their tributes below.