Gianna, her father Kobe Bryant, and seven others died when the helicopter they were flying in crashed in Calabasas, California, last month.
Students and staff of Harbor Day School in Newport Beach took the podium to talk in glowing terms about how Gianna had always been a leader and joy to be around.
One of the school’s basketball coaches, Joshua Parks, said Gianna was one of the fiercest competitors he’d ever seen.
“She definitely represented the ‘Mamba Mentality’ every time she stepped on the floor,” Parks added.
Bryant, who was 13, had dreamed of carrying on her father’s legacy and one day playing in the WNBA.
“She never came to school and bragged about anything,” her former adviser and music teacher, Yunga Webb, said in her speech. “She was one of the most humble people I’ve ever known.”
“She didn’t need to brag, just needed to be a light wherever she stood,” Webb continued. “She elevated the eighth-grade class. She makes us better — she made us better and she makes us better.”
Webb told a story about how the eighth-grade class is coping with the loss. She explained they still take roll call every day.
“We (still) call her name. And when we call her name, I hear 40-plus kids say ‘here,’” Webb said. “In honor of her. Because she’s always with us.”