In a 2018 interview on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," the 41-year-old spoke about his basketball-loving daughter and her aspirations to play in the WNBA.
#KobeBryant talking about his daughter Gianna’s love for the game of basketball with @jimmykimmel is the most heartbreaking thing I have seen in a long long time#RIPKobepic.twitter.com/Z3DECqNvqI
— Stolen Football Tweets (@FootballStolen) January 27, 2020
"This kid, man," Bryant said. "The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans will come up to me and she'll (Gianna) be standing next to me and they'll be like 'Aye, you gotta have a boy. You and V gotta have a boy, have somebody to carry on the tradition, the legacy.' And she's like, 'I got this.'"
Kobe Bryant's Widow Vanessa Speaks Out Following Husband and Daughter Gianna's Tragic Deaths
Vanessa Bryant wed Kobe Bryant in April 2001, when he was just 22 and she was 18 . During their nearly 19-year marriage, the couple welcomed four daughters: Gianna, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and 7-month-old Capri.A source previously told PEOPLE in the wake of the shocking deaths that, as expected, Vanessa is “devastated.”RELATED: Vanessa Bryant Trying to ‘Be the Strong One’ for Daughters After Kobe Bryant and Gianna’s Deaths“She can hardly keep it together,” the insider said. “She can’t finish a sentence without crying. But she is working very hard to pull it together for the other girls.
A post shared by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on Mar 2, 2019 at 9:22pm PST
Kobe Bryant dead at 41: Sports world pays tribute to basketball legend
The proud father filled his Instagram with Gianna's basketball highlights.
A post shared by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on Jun 24, 2018 at 6:12pm PDT
Bryant would even play her one-on-one.
A post shared by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on Sep 17, 2017 at 11:20pm PDT
He could often be seen coaching Gianna, even while attending NBA games together.
#KobeBryant and daughter Gianna will be embedded in #BTSARMY memories as we lovingly adapted this sweet video and share our own stories with each other! #RIPKobe You will are remembered????pic.twitter.com/6wD1qa8nFt
— Seven ⁷ ❄️ (@Snowflakesdrop) January 27, 2020
Bryant's relationship with Gianna went beyond the basketball court. He said she was the reason he made the film "Dear Basketball," which won an Academy Award.
Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin honors Kobe Bryant, wears No. 24
Ovechkin honored the late Lakers great by switching numbers during warmups.During warmups, Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin honored the late Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant by wearing 24 on his jersey prior to the team's contest against the Nashville Predators.
"My daughter gave me the best piece of advice. I was a little worried about turning this into a film. I’d never done something like that before," Bryant said after winning the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 2018. "We were in the house and talking about it as a family and my little 11-year-old Gianna goes, 'Well Dad, you always tell us to go after our dreams so … man up.' She’s 11. Man up. So I had to man up and go for it."
Related slideshow: Kobe's life in pictures (Provided by photo services)
Fourth on NBA's all-time scoring list and five championships under his belt, Kobe Bryant was a legend of modern-day basketball.
They Heard Kobe Bryant’s Helicopter Go Down. Then They Prayed.
CALABASAS, Calif. — It began as just another Sunday at a little church along Las Virgenes Road, on a quiet edge of suburban Los Angeles. The Church in the Canyon is an unremarkable box of a building, with a flat roof over glass front doors. It was about 9:45 a.m. The Sunday worship service was an hour away. A ceiling of low clouds obscured the tops of the bare, brown hills across the road. You cannot always see the moment that the world is about to change.Sign Up For the Morning Briefing NewsletterElizabeth Howland Forrest had just arrived from Santa Monica, mesmerized along the way by the low-flying helicopter that she followed west for several miles on Highway 101.
Bryant was born on Aug. 23, 1978, to former NBA player Joe "Jellybean" Bryant and Pamela Cox in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bryant lived in Italy for eight years while his father played in the Italian Professional Basketball League. He spoke Italian fluently.
He was picked by Charlotte in the NBA draft in 1996, but was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers as part of a prior arrangement.
Elliott: Sorrow overwhelms at Staples Center over death of Kobe Bryant
Flowers. There were so many flowers. And candles whose fragrance competed with bouquets that had been lovingly placed in makeshift memorials along 11th Street, outside Staples Center, and in huge mounds across the street at Xbox Plaza at L.A. Live. There were balloons and jerseys, smiling teddy bears and scuffed basketballs. But the gut punches were delivered by notes that had been written on paper, cardboard, or greeting cards.
He became one of the top shooting guards in the league after Phil Jackson took over the Lakers in 1999. His partnership with Shaquille O'Neal powered the franchise to three consecutive NBA championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Marketers had queued up to sign him from an early age. In 1996-97, he signed a six-year contract with Adidas, but switched over to Nike during the 2002-03 season. He has also been associated with Coca Cola and McDonand's.
In 2006, he scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors — the second-highest number of points scored by any player in an NBA game.
Opinion: Why Lakers, LeBron James are equipped to navigate Kobe Bryant tragedy
The Lakers are among the last of the family-owned teams, and that close-knit nature might be the reason they can navigate an unfathomable tragedy. It’s crushing for the franchise and for the players, including LeBron James, who all grew up watching and idolizing Bryant. His only public comment so far is an Instagram post.It helps to have a player like James, who wrote, in part: “Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids.
His wife Venessa filed for divorce in 2011 citing irreconcilable differences, but the two decided against a separation two years later.
Lillard matches Kobe with historic 6-game scoring outburst
Damian Lillard's incredible recent run has put him on equal footing with a late legend. After dropping 51 against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, the Portland Trail Blazers star has now totaled 293 points over his last six games. That draws Lillard equal with Kobe Bryant for the third-highest output over any six-game stretch in the past 20 seasons, according to ESPN's Kevin Pelton.After dropping 51 against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, the Portland Trail Blazers star has now totaled 293 points over his last six games. That draws Lillard equal with Kobe Bryant for the third-highest output over any six-game stretch in the past 20 seasons, according to ESPN's Kevin Pelton.
In his 19th season with the Lakers, he was on the cusp of becoming the first NBA player to spend 20 seasons with the same franchise. He tied for that record with John Stockton, who spent 19 seasons with the Utah Jazz.
Off the court, Bryant was an ambassador for the non-profit After-School All-Stars, which provides after-school programs to children in 13 U.S. cities. He's also started his own charity in partnership with the Chinese government-backed Soong Ching Ling Foundation.
Late in 2014, he surpassed Michael Jordan on the all-time NBA scorer's list. He also became one of only four players in the league's history to score 32,000 points. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Jordan are the other three.
Kobe walked into the basketball court for the final time on April 13, 2016. He got the fairy tale ending that he deserved as he scored 60 points in his final game, helping the Lakers to a 101-96 victory against the Utah Jazz.