Kobe Bryant’s daughter Natalia says she wants to keep his ‘mamba mentality’ intact

‘You have to remind yourself that with positivity and resilience you can do anything,’ model says

Amber Raiken
New York
Thursday 12 October 2023 21:23 BST
Related: Kobe Bryant’s daughter Natalia signs modelling contract

Natalia Bryant has opened up about keeping her late father Kobe Bryant’s legacy alive.

The University of Southern California student, 20, spoke candidly about her father – who tragically died in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna in 2020 – during an interview with Elle, published on 11 October. During the conversation, Natalia described one of the NBA star’s daily mindsets, which he’d previously discussed with his fans.

“Mamba mentality is about constantly trying to be the best version of yourself. It’s putting your best foot forward at all times regardless of all the noise,” she explained.

The model then added that she wants to abide by her father’s mentality in her everyday life.

“I want to make sure that mentality stays intact, because it can be so easy to give up on yourself when things get tough,” she said. “You have to remind yourself that with positivity and resilience you can do anything.”

On 26 January 2020, Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were tragically killed in a helicopter crash just outside Los Angeles, along with seven other victims. In March, the athlete’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, was awarded a $28.5m settlement in her lawsuit with Los Angeles County over photographs of the 2020 helicopter crash, in which police and fire officials employed by the county allegedly showed photos of the crash site.

Earlier this year, Natalia paid a sweet tribute to her father at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, California, following the unveiling of a display honouring the Lakers player.

“I’m honoured to be here today to recognise the man we all knew and love, my dad Kobe Bryant,” she said during her speech at the event, which she attended with her mother and sisters, Bianka, six, and Capri, four. “While most people knew him as a basketball player or a storyteller, I got to know and love him as my dad. And let me tell you, he is the MVP of girl dads, to say the least.”

She acknowledged that while being a father of four is definitely not “easy,” her father made sure to prioritise his time with his daughters, even in the midst of a busy schedule as an NBA star.

“He always made sure to support me and my sisters, Gianna, Bianka, and Capri – at our recitals, games, tournaments and any monumental moment you could think of,” she continued. “Being his daughter is one of the greatest joys of my life and I hope I continue to embody and cherish the many lessons he has taught me.”

Natalia also explained how her father inspired her career and interests, adding: “He is the reason I’m pursuing film in college. And he is the reason film has inspired me to create memories like ours, for other people to even bring more fathers and daughters together like us.”

Last month, Natalia threw out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium before the Los Angeles Dodgers game against the Atlanta Braves. While she stood on the mound and wore a Dodger’s jersey with her father’s Lakers number on it, she was joined by her mother and sisters. During the occasion, Bianka gave the traditional pre-game shout of “It’s time for Dodger baseball!”

The Dodgers also presented a $100,000 check to the Mamba and Mamba Cita Sports Foundation, a nonprofit organisation – founded in honour of Kobe and Gianna – that provides funding and sports programming to underserved athletes.

In the interview with Elle, Natalia also revealed how she navigates “tough times” in her life by focusing her “energy on the things that bring [her] happiness”.

“I spend time with the people I love, like my family. I hang out with my friends, or listen to my favourite music,” she said. “I do things that bring me peace and that put me in a much better headspace. I think it’s important to focus on the positive aspects life has to offer.”

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