Vanessa Bryant Changes Name of Foundation To Honor Kobe And Gianna

Melissa Rohlin

Vanessa Bryant announced Thursday that the Mamba Sports Foundation will now be called the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. 

The name honors Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who were killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 along with seven other people. 

"Because there is no #24 without #2, we have updated the Mamba Sports Foundation to now be called the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation," Vanessa wrote on Instagram. 

Bryant wore jersey No. 24, while Gianna wore No. 2. They were headed to the Mamba Sports Academy when the helicopter crashed, where Bryant was going to coach Gianna in a basketball game. 

"Our mission remains the same – and stronger than ever – to provide opportunities to young people through sports," Vanessa wrote. "Thank you all for the outpouring of support and your kind donations to date as we carry forth Kobe and Gigi’s legacy.. We hope to empower young athletes in a world they left us all to help shape. #Mamba #Mambacita #wings @mambamambacitasports"

According to the foundation's website, 9,817 youths and 472 veterans have been impacted by the foundation, which "aims to develop learning skills, enhancing character traits, and expanding personal values that ultimately empower and inspire self-confidence."

Immediately after Bryant died, people gathered outside of Staples Center to form a makeshift memorial, leaving behind 1,353 basketballs, over 25,000 candles, jerseys, flowers, shoes, paintings and stuffed animals before the items were collected into 37 containers a week later. 

"All had personal messages, including the shoes," Lee Zeidman, the president of Staples Center, told Sports Illustrated, adding that people even wrote on the plastic wraps around the flowers. 

There will be a public memorial for Bryant and Gianna at Staples Center on Feb. 24.