Vanessa Bryant paid tribute to her late husband and NBA legend Kobe Bryant and their daughter at their memorial.
Last month, Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in an unfortunate helicopter crash. A public memorial service was held on Monday for the victims of the crash at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Beyonce opened the service with her hits ‘XO’ and ‘Halo’. Vanessa Bryant emotionally paid tribute to her husband of 20 years and her young daughter.
She began her speech by thanking everyone for their support. Talking about Gianna, she said, “My baby girl, Gianna Bryant, is an amazingly sweet and gentle soul. She was always thoughtful. She always kissed me good night and kissed me good morning. There are a few occasions where I was absolutely tired from being up with Bianka and Capri and I thought she had left to school without saying goodbye. I text without saying ‘no kiss?’ and Gianna would reply with ‘Mama, I kissed you. You were asleep and I didn’t want to wake you.’ She knew how much her morning and evening kisses meant to me and she was so thoughtful to remember to kiss me every day.”
Further adding, “She was Daddy’s girl but I know she loved her mama and she would always tell me and show me how much she loved me. She was one of my very best friends.”
Vanessa continued: “Gigi was very competitive like her daddy but Gianna had a sweet grace about her. Her smile was like sunshine. Her smile took up her entire face like mine. Kobe always said she was me. She had my fire, my personality and sarcasm. She was tender and loving on the inside. She had the best laugh. It was infectious, it was pure and genuine.”
She also opened up about Gianna’s relationship with Kobe and how they “naturally gravitated toward each other.” Adding, “She had Kobe’s natural ability to listen to a song and have all the lyrics to the song memorized after listening to the song a couple of times. It was their secret talent. She was an incredible athlete. She was great at gymnastics, soccer, softball, dance, and basketball.”
With teary eyes, Vanessa continued, “We will not be able to see Gigi go to high school with Natalia and ask her how her day went. We didn’t get the chance to teach her how to drive a car. I won’t be able to tell her how gorgeous she looks on her wedding day. I’ll never get to see my baby girl walk down the aisle, have a father-daughter dance with her daddy; dance on the dance floor with me or have babies of her own. Gianna would’ve been an amazing mommy. She was very maternal ever since she was really little.”
“Gigi would’ve most likely become the best player in the WNBA,” Bryant added. “She would’ve made a huge difference — she would’ve made a huge difference for women’s basketball. Gigi was motivated to change the way everyone viewed women in sports. She wrote papers in school defending women and wrote about how the unequal pay difference in the NBA and WNBA leagues was unfair.”
Then Vanessa Bryant moved on to her husband Kobe. Saying, “Kobe was known for being a fierce competitor on the basketball court, the greatest of all time, a writer, and Oscar winner and the Black Mamba. But to me, he was Kob Kob, my Boo Boo, my Bay Boo, my Papi Chulo. I was his Vee-Bee, his Principessa, his Reina, his Queen Mamba and his Veeski-Maneeski-Fabuleeski. I couldn’t see him as a celebrity, nor as an incredible basketball player. He was my sweet husband and the beautiful father of our children. He was mine. He was my everything.”
The basketball player’s wife also said about their life together, “Kobe and I have been together since I was 17 and a half years old. I was his first girlfriend, his first love, his wife, his best friend, his confidant and his protector. He was the most amazing husband. Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words. He was the early bird and I was the night owl. I was fire and he was ice and vice versa at times. We balanced each other out. He would do anything for me.”
“I have no idea how I deserved a man that loved and wanted me more than Kobe. He was charismatic, a gentleman. He was loving, adoring and romantic. He was truly the romantic one in our relationship. I looked forward to Valentine’s Day and our anniversaries every year. He planned special anniversary trips and a special traditional gift for every year of our marriage. He even handmade my most treasured gifts. He just thought outside the box and was so thoughtful even when working hard to be the best athlete.”
Adding further, “He gave me the actual notebook and the blue dress that Rachel McAdams wore in The Notebook movie. When I asked him why he chose the blue dress, he said it was because it’s the scene when Ali comes back to Noah. We had hoped to grow old together like in the movie. We really had an amazing love story. We loved each other with our whole beings. Two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls.”
“A couple weeks before they passed, Kobe sent me a sweet text and mentioned how he wanted to spend time together. Just the two of us, without our kids because I’m his best friend first. We never got the chance to do it. We were busy taking care of our girls and just doing our regular, everyday responsibilities, but I’m thankful I have that recent text. It means so much to me. Kobe wanted us to renew our vows, he wanted Natalia to take over his company, and he wanted to travel the world together. We had always talked about how we’d be the fun grandparents to our daughters’ children. He would’ve been the coolest grandpa. Kobe was the MVP of Girl Dads – or the MVD.”
“Kobe somehow knew where I was at all times. Specifically when I was late to his games. He would worry about me if I wasn’t in my seat at the start of each game and he would ask security where I was at the first timeout of the first quarter. And my smart a** would tell him that he wasn’t going to drop 81 points within the first 10 minutes of the game. I think anyone with kids understands that sometimes we can’t make it out the door on time. And eventually, he was used to my tardiness and balled out,” Vanessa also said.
“The fact that he could play on an intense professional level and still be concerned by making sure we still made it to the game safely was just another example of how family came first to him. He loved being Gianna’s basketball coach. He told me he wished he would have convinced Natalia to play basketball so that they could’ve spent even more time together, but he also wanted her to pursue her own passion. He watched Natalia play in a volleyball tournament on her birthday on Jan. 19 and he noticed how she’s a very intelligent player. He was convinced she would’ve made a great point guard with her vision of the court. And he told me that he wanted Bianka and Capri to take up basketball when they get older so he could spend just as much time with them as he did with Gigi.”
She added, “He isn’t going to be able to walk our girls down the aisle or spin me around on the dance floor while singing “PYT” to me. But I want my daughters to know and remember the amazing person, husband and father he was. The kind of man that wanted to teach the future generations to be better and to keep them from making his own mistakes. He always liked working and doing projects to improve kids’ lives. He taught us all valuable lessons about sports through his NBA career, his books, his show detail and his The Punies podcast series and we’re so thankful he left those lessons and stories behind for us.“
Vanessa further stated, “He was thoughtful and wrote the best love letters and cards. Gigi had his wonderful ability to express your feelings onto paper and make you feel your love through her words. She was thoughtful like him. They were so easy to love. Everyone always naturally gravitated towards them. They were funny, happy, silly and they loved life. They were so full of joy and adventure. God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together.”
Ending her speech with, “Babe, you take care of our Gigi, and I’ve got Nani, Bebe and Koko. We’re still the best team. We love and miss you, Boo Boo and Gigi. 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.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims!
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