17-year-old Natalia Bryant, the eldest daughter of the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant, shared a touching tribute to her father on August 23, which would have been his 42nd birthday.
Natalia Bryant took to Instagram to post a cute picture of Kobe holding her as a baby and in the caption, she wrote a heartwarming tribute to her dearly departed father, which read: “Happy Birthday Dad❤️ I miss your smile, laugh and big bear hugs. Happy Birthday to the best movie buddy I could have ever asked for. I will always remember our late night drives to the movie theater with the windows rolled down and listening to our favorite songs. I love you forever and always. Always, Slim.”
Vanessa Bryant, Natalia’s mother and Kobe’s wife, also took to her (private) Instagram to celebrate her husband’s birthday while also honoring their late daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant. “To my baby, Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU! I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi. I miss you both so much,” wrote Vanessa. “Our lives feel so empty without you and GiGi. I’ve been completely broken inside.”
“As much as I want to cry, I put a smile on my face to make our daughters’ days shine a little brighter. I’m not the strong one, they are. They’re strong and resilient. I’m sure you’re proud of them. They put a smile on my face every day. There’s so much I wish I could tell you and show you and Gigi. So many things you would both be happy to see and be a part of. So many milestones for our girls. So many things you would be proud of. I’m so thankful I have pieces of heaven here on earth to wake up for- thanks to YOU. Thank you for loving me enough to last several lifetimes. In every lifetime I would choose YOU.”
Kobe Bryant’s birthday comes almost eight months after he and his daughter Gianna Bryant, along with Alyssa, John and Keri Altobelli, Payton and Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan were tragically killed in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. Gianna was 13 and Kobe was 41 when they passed. Gianna and Kobe are survived by Vanessa and daughters Natalia, 3-year-old Bianka, and 1-year-old Capri Bryant.