Gigi Bryant: The Tragic Story Of A Budding Talent

Gigi Bryant

Gianna Maria Onore Bryant, affectionately known as Gigi Bryant, was born on May 1, 2006. She was an American basketball player who attended Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, California.

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Tragically, Gianna and her father, the legendary Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant, lost their lives in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California, on January 26, 2020. Therefore, if you wish to know more about Gigi, then you should go through this article in detail.

Early Life

Gianna, born in Los Angeles, California, to Vanessa and Kobe Bryant, grew up alongside her older sister Natalia and two younger sisters, Bianka and Capri. Vanessa, her mother, is of Mexican descent, while Kobe, her father, is African-American. Gianna was also the granddaughter of former NBA player Joe Bryant and the great-niece of former basketball player John “Chubby” Cox.

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Her introduction to basketball was inspired by her father, Kobe. He would frequently take her to his games, providing her the opportunity to engage in shooting sessions with the team during warm-ups.


The spark of Gianna’s aspiration to play in the WNBA ignited after attending a Los Angeles Sparks game during a fourth-grade school trip. At that moment, she declared, “I will play in the WNBA, I promise.” Under the guidance of her father Kobe, she played basketball for the Mamba Sports Academy until their tragic demise. Gianna actively participated in the club’s competitive team, progressing through the U-10 to U-15 levels. Gianna’s bond with her father Kobe was exceptionally strong, and she was often seen by his side. Kobe, expressing their close relationship, would affectionately mention how Gianna was like a female version of him.

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The Tragic End

When It Happened?

On January 26, 2020, at 9:06 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter took off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, carrying nine individuals: Gianna, her father, six family friends, and the pilot. The helicopter was registered to the Fillmore-based Island Express Holding Corp., as per the California Secretary of State business database. The group’s destination was Camarillo Airport in Ventura County, where they intended to attend a basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks. Wiki

How It Happened?

Due to light rain and morning fog, the LAPD helicopters and most other air traffic were grounded on that day. The flight tracker indicated that the helicopter circled above the L.A. Zoo due to heavy air traffic in the area. At 9:30 a.m., the pilot communicated with the Burbank Airport’s control tower, informing them of the situation and was advised that he was “flying too low” to be tracked by radar. During this time, the helicopter encountered intense fog and altered its course south towards the mountains. At 9:40 a.m., the helicopter rapidly ascended from 1,200 to 2,000 feet (370 to 610 m), flying at a speed of 161 knots (298 km/h; 185 mph).

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At 9:45 a.m., the helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain in Calabasas, approximately 30 miles (48 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, initiating a fire. Bryant, his daughter, and the other seven occupants lost their lives. The impact also ignited a quarter-acre bush fire. Authorities were alerted at 9:47 a.m., prompting the response of Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters. Paramedics descended from a helicopter to the scene to search for survivors. The presence of magnesium made firefighting challenging, but the fire was successfully extinguished by 10:30 a.m. Initial reports suggested that the helicopter crashed in the hills above Calabasas amid heavy fog. Witnesses reported hearing the helicopter struggling before the tragic crash.

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Gianna: Tributes

On February 5, 2020, Harbor Day School retired Gianna Bryant’s jersey number 2. During the 2020 NBA All-Star Game on February 16, Team LeBron donned jerseys bearing Bryant’s number. On April 17, 2020, Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant, and Payton Chester were posthumously named honorary draft picks in the 2020 WNBA draft. Additionally, the league introduced the Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award.

Gigi Bryant, the daughter of legend Kobe Bryant, followed in the footsteps of her father in basketball. She had a promising career, though cut short by an accident. Join us to know more about her.

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