Vanessa Bryant, the widow of the late great Kobe Bryant, has revealed that she plans to donate proceeds from the $16 million judgment. According to the Los Angeles Times, Bryant will give part of the lump sum to the late NBA legend’s Mamba and Mambacita Foundation in honor of her husband and late daughter, Gianna.
Earlier this week, a Los Angeles federal jury ordered Los Angeles County to pay a total of $31 million to Bryant and Chris Chester, who lost his daughter and wife in the same crash. The families were rewarded for the mental anguish caused by photos of the crash victims’ bodies that sheriff’s deputies and firefighters made public. Bryant was awarded $16 million and Chester $15 million.
After the verdict, Bryant’s attorney Luis Li revealed Bryant’s plans “to shine a light on Kobe and Gigi’s legacy” with her substantial donations.
“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,” Li stated. “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.”
Although his statement did not specify the amount of money the foundation would receive, he went on to share that Bryant is “deeply grateful” to Ralph Mendez and Luella Weireter, who spoke up about the Sheriff’s Department and Fire Department’s photo sharing. Mendez testified that a deputy was showing off crash scene photos to a bartender in Norwalk, while Weireter revealed that firefighters were sharing the photos at an awards gala in Universal City.
Li concluded, “It is Mrs. Bryant’s hope that this important civil rights case will put to a stop this abhorrent and callous behavior.”
Kobe Bryant founded The Mamba Sports Foundation in 2016. The charity, which offers sports education to underserved athletes, was later renamed in 2020 to The Mamba and Mambacita Foundation in honor of Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who died alongside him in the January 2020 helicopter crash.