Like father, like daughter. Kobe Bryant filed a trademark for his daughter Gianna‘s nickname, “Mambacita,” less than one month before the pair died unexpectedly in a helicopter accident on Sunday, January 26.
According to information on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website, the late athlete filed the trademarks in hopes of creating athletic apparel — including shirts, hats, jerseys and more — emblazoned with his daughter’s moniker.
The 13-year-old’s nickname echoed Bryant’s self-assigned identity as the “Black Mamba.” The Los Angeles Lakers player explained the reasoning behind his unconventional nickname during a 2018 interview with the Washington Post. After watching Quentin Tarantino‘s Kill Bill: Vol. 2, during which a character is attacked by one of the terrifying snakes, Bryant found a strange connection to the deadly animal.
“The length, the snake, the bite, the strike, the temperament,” Bryant revealed at the time. “‘Let me look this s–t up.’ I looked it up — yeah, that’s me. That’s me!'”
Throughout his 20-year career, Bryant embodied the “mamba mentality” in more ways than one. His alter ego helped him get into the mindset of a deadly animal on the court, moving quickly and stealthily in every game. The Los Angeles Lakers legend even catapulted the hype into a brand, partnering with Nike to create some of the top signature sneakers in the sport.
In 2018, two years after his NBA retirement, Bryant cofounded the Mamba Sports Academy, an extensive training facility in Thousand Oaks, California, for top-tier youth athletes. He and Gianna were on their way to the academy ahead of a big game when their helicopter went down and burst into flames. None of the other seven passengers survived the crash.
The Oscar winner coached his daughter’s AAU team and previously opened up about their father-daughter dynamic on the court. Gianna was a dedicated athlete and had dreamt of playing for the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team in the future.
“Gianna’s pretty easy to coach. We haven’t had any issues of a dad-daughter sort of thing,” Bryant told Entertainment Tonight in 2018. “She’s very competitive and she’s a hard worker, so there haven’t been any issues with that.”