Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant were among the passengers on the helicopter headed to the Mamba Academy for a youth basketball game on Sunday, January 26. The Mamba Academy was one of Bryant’s post-retirement passions where some of the best athletes in the world came to train.
The facility is located in Newbury Park, California, where the people on the helicopter were believed to be headed prior to the crash. The academy’s website describes the facility as a 100,000 square foot facility with multiple basketball courts, volleyball courts and a turf field.
Mamba Sports Academy is a 100,000 square-foot facility that houses five basketball courts, five volleyball courts, two beach volleyball courts, a turf field, combatives and self-defense dojo, a comprehensive sports medicine practice for medical therapy and rehabilitation, a biomechanics lab, a world-class cognitive training lab, an e-sports training ground, batting cages and pitching mounds, a mondo sprint track, a learning center for academic tutoring and training, and a yoga/cycling studio.
Some of the Top NBA Players Trained at the Mamba Academy
The Mamba Academy’s Instagram page is full of photos and videos of some of the top NBA players working out with Bryant. The list of players who worked out with Bryant at the center included Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Paul George, De’Aaron Fox, Jamal Murray and Tobias Harris, per USA Today. Prior to working out with Bryant, George discussed how big of an icon the Lakers legend was to his family.
“I’m an L.A. kid. Kobe is the biggest person in my house,” George said, per Fox Sports. “Not even me.”
It was not just elite pro athletes that Bryant worked with at the academy. Bryant began coaching his daughter and worked with young people to develop their games as well.
“When you start out, they may travel and they may do all these other things,” Bryant explained, per USA Today. “But you don’t point those out. If you start overly criticizing them, then it affects their self-esteem. It’s just doing it piece by piece. It’s been beautiful watching them grow.”
Bryant and his daughter were headed to the Mamba Academy prior to the crash, per TMZ.
Kobe’s daughter Gianna Maria Onore — aka GiGi — was also on board the helicopter and died in the crash … reps for Kobe tell TMZ Sports. She was 13.
We’re told they were on their way to the Mamba Academy for a basketball practice when the crash occurred. The Academy is in nearby Thousand Oaks.
Bryant Also Started a Film Company
The Mamba Academy was not Bryant’s only business venture as the Lakers legend was also involved in the film industry. Bryant started Granity Studios in an effort to tell stories about sports in a different light. The company’s mission is outlined on Granity Studios’ website.
Formed by NBA Legend Kobe Bryant, Granity Studios is an award winning multimedia original content company focused on creating new ways to tell stories around sports. Stories that are crafted to entertain, by bringing education and inspiration together.
We partner with award-winning writers, producers and illustrators to awaken the imagination of young athletes and foster emotional and mental development that allows them to reach their full potential.