"Love You Always"

Sunday (May 1) would have been Gianna Bryant’s sixteenth birthday. Vanessa Bryant and Natalia Bryant took to Instagram with celebratory posts to honor the late teen’s legacy.


“Happy sweet sixteen my dearest Gigi,” Natalia wrote to her younger sister. “I love you to the moon and back,” the young adult said. “forever and always.”

Vanessa Bryant shared several posts in honor of what would have been her daughter’s sixteenth birthday. “Love you always,” Vanessa wrote to her late daughter. “Happy Birthday, Gianna.”

Gianna and her father, Kobe Bryant, died in a helicopter crash alongside seven others on January 26, 2020. The devastation sent shockwaves through Los Angeles as many still remembered Kobe as the face of the Los Angeles Lakers years after his retirement. Gianna also had plans to pursue a career in professional basketball. The teen hoped to carry on her father’s legacy by playing for the WNBA.

Vanessa laid her husband and daughter to rest in February 2020. She has worked to keep their legacies alive ever since. In fact, Vanessa Bryant recently partnered with Nike to ensure new sneakers honoring her late daughter’s life as an up-and-coming athlete debuted in time for Gigi’s sixteenth birthday. The Nike Kobe 6 Protro “Mambacita Sweet 16” shoes were released over the weekend.

“Thank you for celebrating Gigi’s 16th Birthday with me,” Vanessa said in an Instagram post. “Gigi was always wise beyond her years, spreading joy and kindness to everyone around her and showing that basketball was more than a sport. It was friendship. It was family,” Bryant added.

“The custom shoelaces inspire us to walk in Gigi’s footsteps,” Vanessa said of the shoe’s design. “To lace up and show up every time and to not take opportunities for granted,” the celebrity mom continued. “With these shoes, we hope to encourage everyone to embody my daughter’s Mambacita Mentality — to seize every moment, love deeply every day, and to find your own joy.”

Photo: Vanessa Bryant/Instagram



Sarie is a writer and editor for BCK's Los Angeles division. She also shares stories on Medium that are meant to encourage thought and discussion. You can catch her outside enjoying nature and classical literature. Pop culture is pretty fun, too!

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