It’s been three years since Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Maria Onore Bryant, and several other passengers died in a fiery helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The Lakers legend was traveling with the group on Jan. 26, 2020, when foggy weather conditions made visibility difficult, resulting in the deadly accident.
Today (May 1), Gianna, or “Gigi” as she was affectionately known, would have turned 17 years old. Her mother, Vanessa Bryant, shared multiple posts on social media honoring the life of her late child. “Happy 17th birthday, baby girl. I love you and miss you so much, sweet Angel,” she wrote on one Instagram post with pictures of the teen enjoying herself at a theme park. “Happy birthday, sweet Gigi! We love you to the moon and back infinity [plus one]. Forever [and] always,” she said on another upload that included the Taurus smiling with two of her siblings.
Fans showed their appreciation as well. “Happy 17th birthday in Heaven to Gianna Bryant. She’d be dominating every high school basketball headline right now. Rest in peace,” one person tweeted. Another shared how her passing made him reflect on his time on Earth: “One thing that I have thought about on my birthday for the past [three] years is how valuable life is. Gianna Bryant, who we all know unfortunately passed back in 2020, was also born on May 1, 2006. It really puts into perspective how your life can change or end at any given moment.”
Others remembered the mark she and the NBA great left on society: “Happy 17th Birthday, Gianna Bryant. Gone way too soon. Thank you, both you and your father, for making an impact on the world. Your family, friends and people around the world are proud of you. You and Kobe will be remembered forever.” To honor the life of her daughter, Vanessa partnered with Nike to release the Kobe IV Protro tennis shoe today. She noted that all proceeds will benefit the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.
See more tributes below.