Kobe Bryant dead: Daughter Gianna dies in helicopter crash
A “heartbreaking” video clip of Kobe Bryant talking about his daughter Gianna Maria-Onore has gone viral after the pair died in a tragic helicopter crash together.
During a recent Jimmy Kimmel Live! appearance, Bryant spoke about the 13-year-old’s passion for the sport.
“The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans come up to you, and (Gianna) is standing on the side, and they’re like, ‘You’ve gotta have a boy, you’ve gotta have someone carry on the legacy’. She’s like, ‘Oi! I got this!’ And I’m right, ‘Yes you do, that’s right!’”
A separate eight-second clip of the pair is also making the rounds online.
In the clip, the NBA legend is at a basketball game with the 13-year-old.
The two laugh and smile as they exchange words, oblivious to the cameras on them.
Gianna was killed in the same tragic crash earlier today that has nine confirmed fatalities.
It’s understood Bryant’s wife Vanessa, 37, was not on the helicopter.
The pair have three other daughters – Natalia Diamante, 17, Bianka Bella, 3, and their newborn Capri Kobe.
Bryant frequently posted photos showing his love for his wife and daughters on social media. Just last week, he posted to Instagram a photo of his eldest daughter Natalia on her 17th birthday, with the caption: “Happy Birthday my baby. I love you beyond measure. You will always be my little Principessa.”
On Gianna’s 13th birthday last year, he posted a photo of her in basketball gear and affectionately referred to her by her nickname “Gigi”: “Happy 13th birthday my Gigi! I love you beyond measure baby #teen #daddysgirl #tauro #mambacita.”
Gianna has attracted online attention for her basketball skills despite only being a young teenager. Bryant has previously said the pair watched basketball together “every night”.
“You know what’s funny? So before Gigi got into basketball I hardly watched it, but now that’s she’s into basketball, we watch every night,” he said earlier this month, according to BET.
“We just had so much fun because it was the first time I was seeing the game through her eyes,” he went on. “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. It was her, she was having such a good time.”
According to TMZ, Bryant had said the 13-year-old was “hellbent” on playing college basketball for the University of Connecticut, a university famous for women’s basketball.
“She watches their interviews, watches how they play and learns – not just in wins, but in tough losses, how they conduct themselves,” he told The Courant in 2018. “It’s great, as a parent, to be able to see my daughter pull inspiration from them.”
Bryant frequently spoke with affection for his family in media interviews. In an ABC News interview last year, while promoting a new children’s book called Legacy and the Queen about a young tennis player, he said being a father to four daughters changed him as a man.
“I have four girls at home … it’s important that they see characters that look like them, and that they see athletes,” he said. “They get tired of my voice, of, ‘Be persistent, work hard, believe in yourself’. They’re kind of like, ‘OK, dad, I get it’.
“So when I can put them into stories like that, hopefully they’ll get that same message without hearing it (from their dad) all the time.”
In 2003, Bryant spoke about being a new father to Natalia. His eldest daughter was three months old when he gave the interview.
“I’ve learned how to be patient. Patience and listening, you must have those in a relationship,” he told Jet Magazine.
He said that when he wasn’t playing basketball, he was at his house “messing around with my wife and Natalia all day pretty much. Reading to her, watching TV, jumping her up and down. She follows and she smiles.
“I’m really looking forward to when she turns two, three, and then you can start having all types of fun.”
Bryant’s wife Vanessa has a private Instagram account with more than two million followers. The pair met in 1999 when Bryant was 21 and Vanessa was 17.
Bryant proposed after six months and the pair got married in 2001. They filed for divorce in 2011 but announced their decision to stay together in 2013.
Vanessa was recruited to appear in music videos as a teenager, and the pair met through their shared connections in the music industry, according to a Los Angeles Times profile. They announced their engagement at Vanessa’s 18th birthday.
The Los Angeles Times reports Bryant died when the helicopter he was in crashed into hills amid foggy conditions shortly before 10am (local time) on Sunday.
The crash reportedly sparked a brush fire that made it difficult for emergency workers in their initial rescue efforts.
Bryant is one of the most famous players to ever step foot on a basketball court. He has scored the fourth-most points of anyone in the league’s history, being surpassed just recently by fellow superstar LeBron James.
Starting with The Los Angeles Lakers in 1996, Bryant enjoyed a professional career spanning two decades as he became the face of the iconic NBA franchise.
He won five NBA championships with the Lakers and was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in two NBA Finals campaigns.
An 18-time All-Star, Bryant was recognised as the league’s MVP in 2008 and was also a two-time Olympic gold medallist, helping guide the USA to titles in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London.
Known as Black Mamba, Bryant retired in 2016, signing off by dropping 60 points in his final game.
The helicopter was described as a Sikorsky S-76, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.
The FAA will investigate the incident.
Bryant won an Oscar in 2018 for best short animated film, Dear Basketball, which was based on a letter he wrote to the sport in 2015.
Originally published as ‘Heartbreaking’ Kobe clip goes viral