The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team honored Gianna Bryant on Monday (Jan. 27). Gianna Bryant, of course, was the 13-year-old daughter of NBA legend Kobe Bryant who was attempting to become a basketball star, following in her father’s footsteps.
The Huskies placed a No. 2 UConn jersey alongside flowers on their bench at Monday’s game against USA Basketball in Hartford, as Yahoo Sports reports.
The basketball team also shared a photograph of the tribute via social media, writing, “Mamacita is forever a Husky.”
Gianna, affectionately known as Gigi, earned the nickname “Mambacita” because of her tenacity on the basketball court, similar to her father, Bryant, whos nicknamed was “Mamba.”
On Sunday, Jan. 26 Gianna and her father were headed to a basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California when their helicopter crashed on a hillside. The crash took place in Calabasas. Six other passengers, the Bryants, and the helicopter’s pilot were killed in the fatal crash.
Kobe Bryant began coaching his daughter’s basketball team in 2016 when he retired, ending his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Gianna reported wanted to attend UConn. The young basketball player even got an opportunity to meet with the college’s women’s basketball team when they paid a visit to Los Angeles in 2017. According to their basketball coach Geno Auriemma, Gianna visited the campus in Connecticut, according to ESPN.