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On What Would Have Been Gianna ‘Gigi’ Bryant’s 16th Birthday, NIKE Releases ‘Mambacita Sweet 16' Shoe, Kobe & Gianna B’Ball Court Opens


Paying tribute to a life lost too soon, NIKE released the “Mambacita Sweet 16” shoe, designed by her mother Vanessa Bryantin honor Gianna “Gigi” Bryant on what would have been her 16th birthday. The company also released a 60-second ad and took out a full-page ad for a beautiful “Dear Gianna” letter. Get it all inside…

May 1, 2022 marked Gianna “Gigi” Bryant 16th birthday, and her mother, Vanessa Bryant, made sure to celebrate her daughter’s legacy.

Yesterday, NIKE released a special edition shoe in honor of Gigi’s “Sweet 16.” The shoe company released the Kobe 6 Protro 'Mambacita Sweet 16' shoe, which features a #2 (her jersey number) and a snakeskin pattern that represents "Gigi's Mambacita Mentality," according to a personal note that comes with the shoe from Gianna’s mother, VanessaBryant, Kobe Bryant's widow."It reminds us all to focus on the process and to always trust in the work that we do," the message continued. 

Check out the new sneakers below:



”I’m so happy with the way these Mambacita shoes came out in honor of my daughter, Gigi. Thank you @nike #Mambacita #2 #Forever #BabyGirl #16 #SweetSixteen #5106 #PlayGigisWay I love you Gigi!,” Vanessa wrote in the caption of a carousel of photos and videos of Gigi’s new sneakers.



The special-edition sneakers have already sold out:

The Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation announced Gigi’s Sweet 16 sneakers sold out in just two hours. The proceeds will benefit the foundation. 

On January 26, 2020, Gianna, her father/NBA icon Kobe Bryant and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.  They were traveling to a teen basketball tournament at the former NBA star's Mamba Sports Academy near Thousand Oaks.



In addition to the 60-second ad marking Gianna's 16th birthday, NIKE put out a full-page ad that features the extended love letter from "Basketball” that’ll have you choked up. The love letter - narrated by Vanessa - is modeled after Kobe's Oscar-winning animated film, Dear Basketball.

"From the first time you imagined winning a WNBA championship, I knew one thing was real. You were special," the tribute read."You came from greatness, but it was never about what you inherited.  It was about what you gave to others. When someone stands up for gender equality, I see you fighting alongside of them.”

Check it out above and below:



To further celebrate Gigi’s Sweet 16…



Vanessa’s Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation and Nancy Lierman’s Charities donated a new basketball court and mural at Pearson Park Dream Court in Anaheim. And it opened on what would have been Gigi’s 16th birthday.



Former WNBA player Nancy “Lady Magic” Lieberman helped Kobe’s daughter Bianka Bryant spin a basketball on her finger:



After the ceremony, the kids in the Pearson Park neighborhood hit the court to hoop it up:



Loves it.

On social media, Vanessa posted several birthday tributes to her daughter, including a montage of interviews Kobe conducted where he talked about how he passed on the basketball gene to Gigi and how much she reminded him of himself:




Photo: Vanessa's IG 

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