17-year-old Natalia Bryant, the eldest daughter of the late NBA great Kobe Bryant, is officially starting her senior year of high school.
On her (private) Instagram, Natalia’s mother Vanessa recently posted a photo of Natalia smiling and holding up a sign that read: “Back to school 2020. This year looks different but I will succeed.” Vanessa captioned the photo: “Our #Senior @nataliabryant #12thgrade #distancelearning #backtoschool 📚 #KobeBryantDay ❤️.” Some fans in the comments section gushed over Natalia’s resemblance to her late father, while most others wished Natalia good luck in her senior year.
On August 23, which would have been Kobe Bryant’s 42nd birthday, Natalia Bryant posted a touching tribute to her father on Instagram. She posted a sweet picture of Kobe holding her as a baby and in the caption, she wrote an emotional 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 too posted an Instagram message for her late husband and daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, which read: “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,” she continued. “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.”
Natalia Bryant is beginning her senior year eight months after her father Kobe and sister 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.