CASHMERE, Wa. (WAVE) - Hailey Van Lith, UofL’s top basketball commit who received a visit from Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, back on January 11 posted a tribute to them on her Instagram Sunday night.
Kobe and Gianna were two of the nine killed in the helicopter crash in Calabasas, California Sunday afternoon. Van Lith posted a video of Kobe’s visit to Cashmere High School with a heartfelt message.
“I am at a loss for words. I can only be thankful God gave me time to build a friendship and mentorship with both of you. Never have I seen a passion for life burn so bright in two individuals. Thank you for changing my life. Conversations I shared with you both touched my heart and I will cherish them forever. Until I see you again, I love y’all and Rest In Peace❤️”
Van Lith had trained with Kobe and Gigi last summer, and during their visit to Cashmere High School, they observed Van Lith score 35 points in her game against Medical Lake during his visit. In Bryant’s Instagram post, he was seen throwing L’s up with her and his daughter.
Back in November, Van Lith committed to UofL. Louisville women’s basketball head coach Jeff Walz spoke about Kobe’s impact after Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh.
“We’re just grateful, obviously, for what Kobe’s meant to women’s basketball and his commitment to it, and just his courage to put that out there, that, ‘hey, it’s okay,’ you know. He supports women’s basketball,” Walz said. “It’s just devastating, sad, and I mean, it’s going to be tough. I really feel for his family.”