CASHMERE, Wash. — Louisville women’s basketball commit Hailey Van Lith posted a tribute to Kobe and Gigi Bryant, two of the nine people killed in a helicopter crash Jan. 26, on her Instagram.
“I can only be thankful God gave me time to build a friendship and mentorship with both of you,” Van Lith wrote. “Never have I seen a passion for life burn so bright in two individuals. Thank you for changing my life.”
The father and daughter recently visited Van Lith’s hometown to watch her game earlier this month. At the time, Bryant posted a picture of Van Lith and his daughter, saying he could not wait to see her play for Louisville next season.
Van Lith’s tribute can be seen below:
Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz spoke about Bryant’s impact on the world, and more specifically women’s basketball, before UofL’s game against Pittsburgh Jan. 26.
“Everyone knew him because of how he played, and then you get to learn about him as a person, and now all of a sudden you have a great basketball player and a great man,” Walz said. “Kobe has been remarkable to women’s basketball. Two weeks ago, [they go] up to see Hailey Van Lith play. It’s hard to put into words right now.”
Former Card Angel McCoughtry posted a photo of herself, Bryant and Anthony Davis at the 2020 London Olympics.
“I’m in pure utter sickness right now,” McCoughtry tweeted. “I was just called by his team to do some workouts in La with him and missed it do to being overseas. I wish I would have gone. May god bless his family.”