Vanessa Bryant is honoring her late husband, NBA legend Kobe Bryant and 13-year-old daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant by sharing memories of their love of basketball. On March 26, Vanessa Bryant posted a touching video on Instagram in which Kobe spoke about coaching Gianna, a budding basketball player who sought to eventually play in the WNBA, and the pride he took in teaching her the sport he loved so much.
“She started out playing soccer, which is one of my favorite sports as well,” says Kobe in the video. “But then, when she asked about learning the game of basketball, I started teaching her piece by piece, and she started enjoying it and loving it and now she plays every day. It’s been a joy to watch her grow and to be there every day for that process. Her temperament is a lot like mine. She’s extremely competitive, very fiery, and backs down from no challenge. She’s a good mix of me and good mix of her mama, so that makes her even more competitive than I am.”
Vanessa Bryant posted the tribute two months after Kobe and Gianna, along with Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser, John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli, and pilot Ara Zobayan were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on January 26, 2020. Kobe was 41 at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife Vanessa and their remaining three daughters: 17-year-old Natalia, 3-year-old Bianka, and 9-month-old Capri Bryant.
Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s public memorial service took place on February 24, 2020 in the Staples Center, the arena in Los Angeles, California where Kobe spent his illustrious career with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA championships. During the service, Vanessa Bryant shared fond memories and heartwarming stories of her late daughter and husband before closing her tribute with: “God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together. “Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nani, B.B. and Koko. We’re still the best team. May you both rest in peace and have fun in Heaven until we meet again one day. We love you both and miss you. Forever and always, Mommy.”