|Born||May 1, 2006|
(Los Angeles, California)
|Died||January 26, 2020 (aged 13)|
Gianna Maria Onore Bryant also referred to as "Gigi", (May 1, 2006 – January 26, 2020) was an American middle school basketball player that attended Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, California
Bryant and her father Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died on January 26, 2020, in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California.
Born in Los Angeles, California to Vanessa and Kobe Bryant, Gianna was raised with her older sister Natalia and two younger sisters, Bianka and Capri. Her mother was a model and her father won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. She was also the granddaughter of Joe Bryant and great-niece of John "Chubby" Cox.
Her father, Kobe, was the reason she started playing basketball. Bryant played basketball for the Mamba Sports Academy, where she was coached by her father until their tragic death. She played on the competitive team with the club at the U-10 through U-15 levels.
Bryant wanted to play college basketball at the power house University of Connecticut, she reguarly attended UConn, WNBA, and Lakers games with her father. She had a very close relationship with her father Kobe as she was usually always by her father's side. Kobe would talk about Gianna saying how she was female version of him.
"This kid, man... I'm telling you, The best thing that happens is when we go out, and fans will come up to me, and she'll be standing next to me, and they will be like, 'You gotta have a boy, you and V [wife Vanessa] gotta have a boy, man, to have somebody carry on the tradition, the legacy.' And [Gigi] is like, 'I got this!'" Bryant said. "That's right. Yes, you do. You got this."
At 9:06 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on January 26, 2020, a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter departed from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, with nine people aboard: Gianna, her father, six family friends, and the pilot. The helicopter was registered to the Fillmore-based Island Express Holding Corp., according to the California Secretary of State business database. The group was traveling to Camarillo Airport in Ventura County for a basketball game at Bryant's Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks.
Due to light rain and fog that morning, the LAPD helicopters and most other air traffic were grounded. The flight tracker showed that the helicopter circled above the L.A. Zoo due to heavy air traffic in the area. At 9:30 a.m. the pilot contacted the Burbank Airport's control tower, notifying the tower of the situation and was told he was "flying too low" to be tracked by radar. At that time, the helicopter experienced extreme fog and turned south towards the mountains. At 9:40 a.m. the helicopter climbed rapidly from 1,200 to 2,000 feet (370 to 610 m), flying at 161 knots (298 km/h; 185 mph).
At 9:45 a.m., the helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain in Calabasas, about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and began burning. Bryant, his daughter, and the other seven occupants were killed. This also started a quarter-acre bush fire. At 9:47 a.m. authorities were called. Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters responded to the scene, and paramedics rappelled from a helicopter to the scene to look for survivors. The fire was difficult to extinguish due to the presence of magnesium, but the fire had been extinguished by 10:30 a.m. Initial reports indicated that the helicopter crashed in the hills above Calabasas in heavy fog. Witnesses reported hearing a helicopter struggling before crashing.
On February 5, 2020, Bryant's school Harbor Day School retired her jersey number 2. At the 2020 NBA All-Star Game on February 16, Team LeBron wore the Bryant's jersey number. On April 17, 2020, Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant, and Payton Chester were named honorary draft picks in the 2020 WNBA draft. The league also introduced Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award.