Kobe and Gigi: Remembering their legacy two years after their tragic accident


Bailee Alejos

On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, along with a total of seven others, died in a helicopter crash, which took their lives instantly. It has been two years since the accident and it’s sparking more and more emotions. Kobe Bryant was officially inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020.

“He was one of the most inspirational people of all time and his work ethic was amazing,” junior Henry Egge said. 

Considered one of the top shooting guards in NBA history, Kobe, who gave himself the nickname, “Black Mamba,” was honored with the name Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 2008 along with two Finals MVP awards in 2009 and 2010. The 18-time NBA All-Star led the Lakers to win five NBA titles in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, and 2010. 

“I wish my husband was here to accept this incredible award,” said Vanessa Bryan, wife of Kobe Bryant, at the ceremony. She was joined onstage by basketball legend Michael Jordan who was also taken aback by the tragedy. 

“God rest his soul, God rest the soul of Gigi and the seven others that perished,” said the Miami assistant coach and former NBA player Caron Butler, who had a close relationship with Bryant for years. Bryant wasn’t just an NBA star; he was also a philanthropist and established the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation. But most of all, he became the greatest “#GirlDad” to four beautiful daughters, even coaching Gianna’s youth basketball team. In fact, on the day of his passing, he was traveling to a basketball tournament to coach Gianna and her teammates.

“It’s so sad that his daughter died. She was too young to have her life taken so early. I hope their family is okay,” junior Lauren Jackson said. 

Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna was the second oldest of his four daughters. Bryant described his daughter as “something else” in an interview with the Los Angeles Times and said she was determined and had a dream to play for the WNBA one day. The league honored that goal later by selecting her and her two teammates killed in a helicopter crash as honorary picks in the WNBA draft. Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli, and Payton Chester were honored at the beginning of the virtual draft. Both Kobe’s and Gigi’s numbers (24) (8) have been retired. Both Mamba and Mambacita will forever be remembered in history. 

Two years later to honor them and the seven others who lost their lives near Calabasas, there is now a temporary statue of Kobe and Gianna Bryant at the crash site.  The bronze statue shows Kobe Bryant dressed in his Los Angeles Lakers uniform putting his arm around Gianna, who’s looking up at him while holding a basketball. The statue reads, “Heroes come and go, but legends are forever.” An amazing quote for the legends themselves.