Sunday (May 1, 2022), would have been Gigi Bryant’s 16th birthday. In memory of Gigi, her mother and Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, unveiled a new pair of Nike sneakers called “Mambacita Sweet 16.”
Gigi, along with her basketball star father and seven others, were killed in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
“The ‘Mambacita Sweet 16’ is inspired by [Gigi’s] resilient spirit and the love she had, not only for the game, but for her family, friends and community,” Vanessa Bryant wrote in a statement she posted on Instagram. “Gigi continues to touch so many people around the world. Part of her legacy is about building a better future for all girls and women in sport, one step at a time.”
The sneakers are designed with a black snakeskin pattern to represent the “Mambacita Mentality” that Gigi lived by alongside her father’s “Mamba Mentality.” The inside of the shoe is patterned in black and white, and the back of the shoe includes a circular snakelike design with a capital letter “M” placed at its center. The name “Gigi” is on the right show and “Kobe” is on the left shoe. The soles of the shoe have angel wings and a halo with Gigi’s jersey number and the word “Mambacita” in cursive lettering.
“With these shoes, we hope to encourage everyone to embody my daughter’s Mambacita Mentality – to seize every moment, love deeply every day and to find your own joy,” Vanessa Bryant wrote.
All proceeds from the sale of “Mambacita Sweet 16” will benefit the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, dedicated to honor the legacy of Gigi and Kobe Bryant by making an impact on the lives of underserved athletes.