Courtesy Kobe Bryant/Instagram; AP/Shutterstock
Forever in their hearts. Vanessa Bryant announced a change in the Mamba Sports Foundation name to honor both her late husband, Kobe Bryant, and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who lost their lives in a tragic helicopter crash on January 26.
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“Because there is no #24 without #2, we have updated the Mamba Sports Foundation to now be called the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation,” Vanessa, 37, revealed via Instagram on Thursday, February 13. “Our mission remains the same – and stronger than ever – to provide opportunities to young people through sports.”
Vanessa, who also shares daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months, with the late athlete, continued her social media announcement by thanking everyone who has been there for her family during the difficult time.
“Thank you all for the outpouring of support and your kind donations to date as we carry forth Kobe and Gigi’s legacy,” she added alongside a photo of the foundation’s new logo. “We hope to empower young athletes in a world they left us all to help shape. #Mamba #Mambacita #wings @mambamambacitasports.”
The name change comes one day after a source told Us Weekly exclusively that Vanessa has turned to her mother for strength following the passing of her loved ones and seven others who perished in the crash.
Vanessa is “incredibly close to her mom and her mom has been her rock throughout the past few weeks,” the insider told Us on Wednesday, February 12. “Her mom is always with her and the girls and she’s been keeping Vanessa strong and she’s the weight of her support system.”
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A few days earlier, Vanessa opened up about her grief she’s experiencing over the loss of both her husband of nearly two decades and their teenage daughter via Instagram.
“My brain refuses to accept that both Kobe and Gigi are gone. I can’t process both at the same time. It’s like I’m trying to process Kobe being gone but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me. It feels wrong,” she wrote on Monday, February 10.
She admitted that she is “mad” that her daughter, who “had so much life to live,” was taken from her.
“Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my 3 daughters,” she continued. “Mad I’m not with Kobe and Gigi but thankful I’m here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri. I know what I’m feeling is normal. It’s part of the grieving process.”
She added: “God I wish they were here and this nightmare would be over. Praying for all of the victims of this horrible tragedy. Please continue to pray for all.”
Us confirmed that Kobe and his daughter were laid to rest in a private service in Corona Del Mar, California, on Friday, February 7. The same day, Vanessa confirmed that there would be a public memorial for the former Lakers star and Gianna at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 24.
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“#2, #24, #20 years as a Laker and the amount of years Kob and I were together ❤️❤️💜💛,” she wrote via Instagram with a photo of the “celebration of life” flyer.
Gianna was previously honored in a special tribute ceremony on February 5 at Harbor Day School, where her team retired her jersey.
Kobe has been honored at the 2020 Oscars, 2020 Grammys, the 2020 Super Bowl and during the Los Angeles Lakers first game at Staples Center since his passing on January 31, amongst other celebrity and fan tributes.
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