FILIPINA American basketball coach Christina Mauser — who was among the nine victims in the helicopter crash that also killed NBA icon Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna last month — was honored during a private funeral service on Sunday, February 16.
Mauser, 38, was memorialized by family and friends at her alma mater, Edison High School in Huntington Beach, California, three weeks after the fatal crash in Calabasas on January 26.
She had been inducted into the high school’s athletic hall of fame for her accomplishments in both varsity basketball and volleyball, according to local television station KTLA5.
Mauser previously worked as a basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar, where Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna attended, and was an assistant coach at Mamba Sports Academy.
The younger Bryant was also among the victims of the crash on Sunday, January 26 as they made their way to the academy in Thousand Oaks for a game.
Mauser is survived by her husband Matt and their three young children ages 11, 9 and 3.
Her husband Matt previously shared in an interview with the “TODAY” show that Bryant had hand-selected her to be an assistant coach for Mamba Academy.
“Kobe brought her on (to the Mambas) to teach the kids defense,” Matt Mauser said. “He didn’t really understand zone defense because he never played it in high school or college. They called her the Mother of Defense. MOD.”
He added, “[Kobe] didn’t choose Christina for just any ordinary reason — she was extraordinary. She was incredibly witty, funny like nobody you’ve ever met.”
In addition to the Bryants and Mauser, the victims aboard the Sikorsky S-76B aircraft were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and their daughter, Alyssa; Sarah Chester and her daughter, Payton; and Ara Zobayan, who was Bryant’s private pilot. Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester both played for Mamba Academy as well.
Mauser was also honored by the California State Assembly on January 30 and at a public vigil at Huntington Beach Pier on Feb. 1.
A GoFundMe page with a $300,000 goal has been started for the Mauser family. As of this writing, the campaign has raised over $290,000.
A public memorial will be held for Bryant and Gianna on Feb. 24 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. All proceeds will go to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation. (AJPress)