Kobe Bryant's charity renamed to honour daughter Gianna
Kobe Bryant’s charity has changed its name to honour his daughter Gianna, 13, who died in a helicopter crash alongside her father.
Kobe's wife and Gianni's mother Vanessa made the announcement on Instagram yesterday, less than three weeks after the tragic accident that claimed the lives of her husband, daughter and seven others.
The charity is now called the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation (MMSF), a tribute to the nicknames of Kobe and his basketball-playing daughter.
Speaking about the name change, Vanessa Bryant said: “Because there is no No.24 without No.2.
“Our mission remains the same—and stronger than ever—to provide opportunities to young people through sports.
“Thank you all for the outpouring of support and your kind donations to date as we carry forth Kobe and Gigi’s legacy.
“We hope to empower young athletes in a world they left us all to shape.”
But the foundation’s commemoration of Gianna seems to go beyond the rebrand.
Earlier this month, the then-named Mamba Sports Foundation, styled after Kobe’s moniker The Black Mamba, added a fourth objective to its charitable goals.
Now, in addition to providing underserved communities and athletes with opportunities to participate in sport, MMSF said it aims to 'provide funding for programs that offer equal opportunities for young women in sports'.
Gianna, known as ‘Gigi’, was a competitive basketball player who dreamed of playing college hoop for the UConn huskies before joining the WNBA.
Kobe was enormously invested in his daughter’s career and even served as head coach to her team.
It is believed Gigi, Kobe and the other victims of the crash were en-route to a basketball tournament where she was set to play.
Gigi was the second eldest of Vanessa and Kobe’s four daughters, and the NBA legend believed she was firmly capable of carrying on his legacy.
As he told Jimmy Kimmel: “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’ll be like, ‘Hey you’ve got to have a boy, you’ve got to have a boy to carry on your tradition, the legacy.’
“Gianna will be like, ‘Oy! I got this! We don’t need a boy for that. I got this.’”
Grammy Award-winning singer Jennifer Hudson is set to perform a tribute to Gianna, Kobe and the other crash victims at the NBA All-Star Game this Sunday.