STORRS, CT (WFSB) - Legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas, CA.
Kobe Bryant passed his love for the game on to his daughter, who went by Gigi. She was an aspiring basketball player who loved the University of Connecticut women's basketball program.
He would often upload clips of her playing on social media.
Nearly 3,000 miles away from the scene in Storrs, disbelief settled on UConn's campus.
"I remembered he brought her to game last year, I’m pretty sure. And seeing that she also passed away is terrible," said Calvin Palmer, a sophomore.
Wearing the Huskies gear, it was undeniably clear Gigi and her dad loved the women's team.
Last March the pair met the team during a game and took a selfie.
Kobe and Gianna meant a lot to our program. Our thoughts are with the Bryant family. Mamba Mentality will live on forever, but they are deeply missed. 💙 pic.twitter.com/4Ib96yFxgg— UConn Women's Hoops (@UConnWBB) January 26, 2020
The NBA legend even recorded a video to encourage the team back in 2017.
Sunday night, the team shared how much the father-daughter duo meant to the program and sent its thoughts to the family.
"Kobe and Gianna meant a lot to our program," it said in a Twitter post. "Our thoughts are with the Bryant family."
"It’s just so sad and is unexpected. Just like a couple of years younger than us — she was thirteen. Like I can’t imagine it," said Sara Adamson, a freshman.
Thousands gathered in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, where the Lakers play, to mourn the man who dazzled fans on the court for two decades.
In the hours that followed the crash, the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA displayed a big sign that read "Kobe."
Kobe Bryant was one of 50 nominees for the 2020 enshrinement.
"I think one of the top 12 players to ever play this game, he was eligible to be enshrined this summer 20-20 for the first time," said John Doleva, president and CEO, Basketball Hall of Fame. "Eligible and obviously I think that everyone believes that he was the first candidate I imagine he will be enshrined posthumously this summer he was a great player. He really changed the game."
Kobe Bryant, also known by the nickname Black Mamba, continues to be remembered as a fierce competitor.
Gigi Bryant will be remembered for a bright future that was cut short way too soon.
Stay with Channel 3 for continuing coverage.