It's a forever thing.
Several members of Kobe Bryant's daughter's basketball team attended Friday night's Los Angeles Lakers game to pay their respects to those killed during last Sunday's helicopter crash. Gianna "Gigi" Bryant played for one of Kobe's Mamba Sports Academy teams, as did two other victims lost in the tragedy.
Payton Chester, 13, Alyssa Altobelli, 13, and their coach, Christina Mauser, were among the nine individuals who died while en route to a basketball tournament held at the Mamba Sports Academy facility in Thousand Oaks, Calif. on Sunday, Jan. 26. Payton's mother, Sarah Chester, and both of Alyssa's parents, Keri and John Altobelli, as well as the pilot, Ara Zobayan, all died.
Tonight marks the first Lakers game since Kobe and Gianna's deaths, which shocked the sports world and humanity at large. Hours ago, the Mamba Sports Academy announced its doors were open once again.
"Our hearts are heavy. Our head is heavy. It is our duty, though, to continue our mission—Kobe's mission— to help the next generation of athletes and leaders achieve their full potential. And, with your help, we're going to do just that," an Instagram post read.
In the days after Kobe's death, wife Vanessa Bryant and the Mamba Sports Academy announced the formation of the MambaOnThree Fund to benefit the other families impacted by the crash.
"The MambaOnThree Fund was created to honor Team Mamba's mantra, 'Mamba on Three.' It's with that customary chant for togetherness, sisterhood and the ability to take on every challenge that this fund was named," the organization announced at the time.
Kobe co-founded the Mamba Sports Academy in 2018.
For more details and photos from inside tonight's tribute game, check out our post—updating in real time—here.