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Vanessa Bryant to Donate $16M From Kobe Photo Lawsuit to Mamba & Mambacita Foundation

Erin WalshAugust 26, 2022

PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

The $16 million Vanessa Bryant was awarded in her lawsuit against Los Angeles County is going to a good cause.

Bryant intends to donate the money to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, according to Alene Tchekmedyian of the Los Angeles Times.

The foundation is a nonprofit "dedicated to creating positive impact for underserved athletes and boys and girls in sports." It was founded "through the vision and loving memory" of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, who died in a tragic helicopter crash in January 2020.

Bryant said she is giving the money to the foundation "to shine a light on Kobe and Gigi’s legacy," per Tchekmedyian.

Bryant's attorney, Luis Li, said in a statement:

“From the beginning, Vanessa Bryant has sought only accountability, but our legal system does not permit her to force better policies, more training or officer discipline. Those measures are the responsibility of the sheriff’s and fire departments — responsibilities that Mrs. Bryant’s efforts have exposed as woefully deficient, even giving amnesty to the wrongdoers.”

Chris Chester, who lost his wife, Sarah, and daughter, Payton, in the crash, was also awarded $15 million as a result of the suit.

The Mamba Sports Foundation was founded in 2016, shortly after Kobe Bryant retired from the NBA after a 20-year career that saw him win five titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. It was renamed to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation in 2020 as Gianna Bryant was a rising basketball star herself.

The foundation "provides funding and sports programming for underserved athletes to enable participating in school and/or league sports that enrich socio-emotional and physical development," per its website.

Bryant won her lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Fire and Sheriff Departments on Wednesday over photos first responders took at the scene of the crash that killed Kobe, Gianna and seven others.

At least eight sheriff's deputies took photos of the bodies of Kobe and Gianna Bryant on their personal cellphones at the scene of the crash and shared them with other people. Tchekmedyian previously reported most of the deputies had received new phones since sharing the photos and that the photos had been deleted.

The verdict came just one day after Kobe Bryant's Aug. 23 birthday. It also happened to be 8/24, which is known as "Kobe Bryant Day," for the two numbers he wore during his historic NBA career.

"All for you! I love you! JUSTICE for Kobe and Gigi," Bryant wrote on Instagram Wednesday in response to the verdict.

It is now illegal in California for first responders to share photos of the deceased at a crime scene unless it's for official law enforcement purposes after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an invasion-of-privacy bill in September 2020 coined the "Kobe Bryant Act."

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