Following Split With Nike, Vanessa Bryant Honors Gianna's 15th Birthday With Philanthropic 'Mambacita' Line

Gianna Bryant and her father, former NBA player Kobe Bryant, attend the WNBA All-Star Game 2019 on July 27, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Gianna Bryant and her father, former NBA player Kobe Bryant, attend the WNBA All-Star Game 2019 on July 27, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

On May 1, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant—also nicknamed “Mambacita” for the love of basketball she shared with her father, NBA legend Kobe “Black Mamba” Bryant—would’ve turned 15 years old. In tribute, her mother, Vanessa Bryant launched a clothing line that not only honors her late daughter’s legacy but will hopefully pay it forward for generations to come.

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Bryant announced the line on Friday as she debuted a series of photos of herself and Gigi’s three sisters—18-year-old Natalia Diamante Bryant, four-year-old Bianka Bella Bryant, and one-year-old Capri Kobe Bryant—in tie-dyed sweats emblazoned with the moniker “Mambacita,” Gianna’s jersey number enclosed in a heart, and a winged star logo.

On Saturday, Bryant published a post on Instagram explaining the genesis of the Mambacita launch, which was created in partnership with female-owned brand Dannijo:

Today is my Baby’s Birthday.

When I thought about how best to celebrate Gianna’s birthday with so many who loved her, I knew it had to be a combination of sharing her bright and fun personality with her sense of purpose and passion that would help make a difference in this world.

Gianna was kind, energetic, a leader, and had so much MAMBACITA swag. When I thought about who would help me capture her laid back yet girly-edge, I thought of female-owned @DANNIJO. Two fun-loving sisters running a successful clothing line, they jumped on the opportunity to celebrate Gigi’s birthday with us, completely pro-bono.

I am so proud of the limited-edition MAMBACITA x DANNIJO tie-dye sweat set capsule collection, which celebrates Gigi’s spirit in every little detail – even the placement of #PlayGigisWay on the right arm of each hoodie— her shooting arm 🏀

But what Gigi would love most about the Collection is that 100% of the proceeds will support the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, which is dedicated to creating positive impact for underserved athletes and young women in sports. Gigi was especially motivated to change the way everyone viewed women in sports, and it’s fitting that this capsule represents her values.

Thank you to everyone who made this fundraiser possible, inspired by the loving memory of Gianna Maria-Onor’e Bryant. Please know our family deeply appreciates the way the world continues to celebrate our sweet girl, and we look forward to paying it forward to future Lil MAMBACITAS and Lady Mambas through the work of our Foundation.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GIGI!!!! ❤️

For those paying attention, the line’s release comes closely on the heels of news of a split with Nike in late April, the Bryant estate’s longtime partner in the production of Kobe-branded apparel. At the time, it was noted that Vanessa felt frustrated by the lack of availability of Kobe’s merchandise, as well as footwear and apparel in kids’ sizes, stating “My hope will always be to allow Kobe’s fans to get and wear his products. I will continue to fight for that.”

As reported by Page Six, Bryant confirmed the Mambacita collection “will be available in unisex and children’s sizes.”

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Proving the demand for an all-ages, all-sizes release commemorating Gianna’s impact, the initial release of the collection sold out in in less than a day (h/t Fox Carolina). This is likely because of the overwhelming support of not only the public, but the worlds of sports and entertainment, which have rallied in support of the Bryant family since the tragic deaths of Kobe and Gianna in January 2020. Among many other famous faces, celebrity besties LaLa Anthony and Ciara posed alongside Bryant in the hoodies, which were also seen on Steph Curry and members of the Golden State Warriors. Kyrie Irving purchased outfits for the entire Brooklyn Nets squad, as did Devin Booker for the Phoenix Suns and Mercury teams. And of course, Kobe’s former team, the Los Angeles Lakers were all spotted wearing items from the line.

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No news yet on when fans can expect a restock of the philanthropic, limited edition line, but Dannijo encourages followers to sign up for their newsletter to be alerted of the next preorder opportunity.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

DISCUSSION

Vanessa deserves mad respect.  Using a tragedy she’s surely not, and will never fully, recover from in order to help others.  It’s nice to see a story honoring such selfless kindheartedness.