Benton Middle School basketball team honors Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna

Local News

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Benton Middle School basketball team honored Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in Tuesday’s game against North Little Rock. The entire team wore purple, yellow and white ribbons in their hair in memory of the Laker’s star and his daughter.

FILE – In this July 26, 2018 file photo former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna watch the U.S. national championships swimming meet in Irvine, Calif. Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. Gianna also died in the crash. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, file)

It was organized by 7th grader Isabel “Bel” Butler and Elle Bolding who say this tragedy hit close to home.

“I almost cried just knowing someone so close to my age,” Butler said.

“I was just devastated,” Bolding said.

Gianna Bryant was a rising basketball star herself and wanted to continue the legacy left by her father. Butler and Bolding are around the same age as Gianna and wanted to pay tribute to the father daughter duo. The other players on the Benton Middle School team jumped on board.

The purple and yellow were in honor of the Laker’s legend. The white was for Gianna who dreamed of playing for the University of Connecticut Huskies.

“Her jersey that I saw was on a bench that she wanted to play for college,” Butler said.

After the game, the ribbons came off, but Kobe and Gigi are leaving a legacy these players will carry on in every shot in every game.

“I want to just have them with me as I do this game,” Butler said.

“Every play, every dribble, every shot I take every little move I make I’m going to keep them in the back of my mind,” Bolding said.

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