UK becomes first school to partner with Kobe Bryant’s foundation
It’s been a weekend full of UK basketball giving back as we gear up for the season, first in eastern Kentucky on Saturday, then on Sunday through a skills camp in partnership with the Mamba Mambacita Sports Foundation, nonprofit founded in memory of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gigi.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It’s been a weekend full of UK basketball giving back as we gear up for the season, first in eastern Kentucky on Saturday, then on Sunday through a skills camp in partnership with the Mamba Mambacita Sports Foundation, nonprofit founded in memory of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gigi.
This is the first time the foundation has partnered with a school. Nearly 200 kids learned about Kobe and worked on their skills alongside the women’s basketball staff and players from both the men’s and women’s teams.
Kobe’s oldest daughter, Natalia, flew in for the event and UK presented her with a Kentucky jersey honoring her younger sister with the number 2.
“My sister and my dad would have loved to have been here, because this meant so much to them, and I’m so grateful that you all are here,” Bryant told the campers.
The kids ranged in age from about 7 to 12 and were selected by local organizations.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to honor a legend in Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gigi, and for us to be able to put a big blue magic twist on it, it’s truly an honor,” said women’s basketball head coach Kyra Elzy.
According to the foundation’s website, “The Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating positive impact for underserved athletes and boys & girls in sports. Founded through the vision and loving memory of Kobe and Gianna “Gigi” Bryant. The foundation provides funding and sports programming for underserved athletes to enable participation in school and/or league sports that enrich socio-emotional and physical development. Kobe and Gigi’s vision was to create a world where young boys and girls had equal opportunity to pursue their dreams through sports and life. The foundation honors their legacy by funding programs that support their vision.”
“I have learned that Kentucky does things in kind of a different way than other schools, like they have taken the extra step of saying, ‘What can we do? We love Kobe. We love Giana. We want to help,’ and they’ve just invited us open-arms to be welcomed on campus and to host this camp and we just couldn’t be more grateful,” said Kat Conlon, the executive director of the foundation.
Following the skills academy, the ladies of Big Blue Nation took over for the annual women’s clinic. They got autographs and pictures with men’s basketball head Coach John Calipari, his wife Ellen, and the team. They also went through drills and got to see the facilities.
Copyright 2022 WKYT. All rights reserved.