The father and daughter were reportedly on their way to Mamba Academy, the youth sports training facility founded by Bryant in Calabasas. Gianna, who also went by Gigi, played on the Lady Mamba basketball team, and games in the Mamba Cup had been scheduled to take place on Sunday.
Bryant talked often about how Gianna was carrying on his basketball legacy, and they frequently attended games together.
Just weeks ago, an adorable video of the duo went viral, showing Bryant explaining something at a basketball game to his daughter. And though the five-time NBA champ was undoubtedly giving expert advice, his daughter's reaction was extremely relatable.
People began to use the clip as a meme, with hilarious results. But on Sunday, the funny moment served to highlight the lives that had been cut short much too soon.
Gianna had already caught national attention for her skills on the court when her dad shared a video of her playing in 2018.
"Gigi at work #mambacita," he wrote.
The nickname was a nod to his own title, the Black Mamba. In another video, he showed her completing one of his signature moves.
"Nice fade, kid!" a voice calls out.
And in interviews, Bryant talked about his hopes for her future.
In a 2018 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Bryant said Gianna wanted to someday go pro and play in the WNBA.
Bryant said he'd often hear from fans that the father of four daughters needed to have a boy to carry on his basketball legacy. Gianna never hesitated to speak up, he said.
"She's like, 'Oy. I got this.' I'm like, 'That's right. Yes, you do. You got this,'" he said, laughing.
In another interview with SNY, a New York sports station, Bryant said he was happy in retirement to watch a basketball game through his daughter's eyes. She originally played soccer, but he said he was excited to mentor her in basketball when she said she wanted to learn.
"Next thing you know, it became a true passion of hers," he said. "It's wonderful."
The reporter then asked if Gianna thought she could beat her dad on the court.
"Yeah," the girl said confidently.