Gianna Maria Onore Bryant was known for her curiosity for basketball and for being an intense competitor on the court. Bryant played basketball for the Harbor Day School and the AAU team the Mambas.
She eagerly took up the birthright of the Bryant name, becoming a third-generation basketball player. Her father and coach of the Mambas, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, took pride in her love of the game and nicknamed her “Mambacita.”
Along with basketball, Bryant had experience playing softball, soccer, and gymnastics. Her middle school basketball coach Joshua Parks noted her tough competitive spirit.
“She definitely represented the ‘Mamba Mentality’ every time she stepped on the floor,” he said.
During games, you can see Bryant making fast break shots, forcing turnovers and hitting fadeaway jumpers. Coaches of opposing teams noticed her grit and willingness to battle on offense and defense. There was even a video of Bryant on social media making buckets in a dress and heels.
A leader on the court and off, Bryant was a member of the student council at Harbor Day School. She worked to inspire change and strived to make the campus a welcoming environment for all students.
Bryant was a student of the game and a fan of the UCONN women’s basketball team; she would attend games and was a fan of current Chicago Sky forward Gabby Williams.
In an interview with the Hartford Courant, Kobe explained how she followed the team.
“She watches their interviews, watches how they play and learns — not just in wins, but in tough losses, how they conduct themselves,” Kobe said. “It’s great, as a parent, to be able to see my daughter pull inspiration from them.”
Bryant got a chance to meet and be mentored by UCONN players, like Katie Lou Samuelson and reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year Naphessa Collier. Recently, she even got the chance to play one-on-one with Collier.
In September, Bryant and the Mambas were featured on the cover of Slam Magazine. She would attend WBNA and NBA games along with Kobe.
Outside of her academics and athletics, Bryant enjoyed baking and watching cooking shows. She was known for her bright smile, wit, and sarcasm.