“Mambacita,” the name basketball legend Kobe Bryant filed to be trademarked less than a month before the tragic helicopter accident that killed himself, Gianna, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, John Altobelli , Keri Altobelli , Payton Chester, Ara Zobayan, and Christina Mauser.
The world was already stunned by the news that the Lakers icon was gone, but what seemed to really stop time, was learning that Gianna Bryant’s 13-year life was cut short also. The thoughts of the potential she possessed and now unable to fulfill , filled the minds of everyone everywhere. We lost a generation’s hero, but we also lost the piece of him that he planned to carry on his legacy.
How we knew about “Gigi’s” talent was because of how proudly her father showcased her to the world. The paperwork was filed just on Dec. 30 2019 for “Mambacita” to be trademarked. This effort to make official the female version of his popular nickname ” Mamba” for his daughter, shows he not only had plans for her, but faith in her. Plans that now she won’t be able to live out. According to the docs obtained by TMZ, the plan was to put “Mambacita” on all sorts of sportswear — shirts, shorts, hats, jerseys, sweatpants, sweatshirts and hoodies.
Gigi shared the love of basketball with her father by frequently attending games with him and him coaching her team. Ironically, they both were headed to do what they both loved with each other when the accident occurred. The way Gigi was improving as a player, her future looked optimistically bright. Clips of her plays were circulating, she was traveling the country playing, and a standout leader on her team. Often on Bryant’s Instagram page, you would see him give so much praise to his young daughter’s athletic ability. He was her #1 fan undoubtedly.
In many interviews Kobe was asked about his wants for boys to follow his footsteps, but he always seemed sure his legacy would be continued through his girls…especially Gianna. “The best thing that happens is when we go out and she’ll be standing next to me and fans will come up to me like ‘Hey, you gotta have a boy, you and (Vanessa) gotta have a boy — somebody to carry on the legacy and the tradition’ and (Gigi) will be like ‘Oy, I got this. We don’t need a boy for that. I got this!” Kobe said.
She had dreams of becoming a University of Connecticut Husky, and on Tuesday she became an honorary member of the most decorated team in women’s college basketball. Before UConn’s Monday exhibition game against the US Women’s National Team, the Huskies draped a No. 2 jersey — the digit Gigi wore — over one of their bench seats.
“Black Mamba” was a name given to Kobe because of his assassin-like mentality, but this tough frame of mind was on the court. Off the court, Bryant was the father every little girl wants. For him to want to pass this name down to his daughter, shows his ability to look past gender and not limit his children’s potential. Gianna also had hopes of after college joining the WNBA, which her father has continuously been a vocal and active supporter of. Kobe didn’t only celebrate his own daughter, but all women in sports. Kobe Bryant’s perspective and Gigi’s ability is a lesson we all can learn from, to not allow societal restrictions and expectations to stop us from doing what we are destined to do and be.
Even this photo he posted on his Instagram of his daughter captioned, “#HoopsAndHeels#StealsAndStilettos” shows his admiration for her as an athlete, but also her femininity.
In a time where there is so much separation and differences, this tragedy brought people together. It reminded us to pause and not only take a look around us, but to actually be present. It reminded us what is important and what’s superficial. It reminded us to be grateful for simple things such as making it home at the end of the day. It reminded us to have Kobe’s mentality with everything we do. It reminded us to be…human.
Although her story ended way too soon, she was still able to get her message across. Do what you love, love what you do, and do it with who you love. Physically gone, but the bond that this father and daughter superstar duo showed the world is enough to last us spiritually a lifetime.
Currently the trademark is still pending, and we will keep an eye to see if it is granted. Rest in peace Mamba and Mambacita.