Inspiration, Life, Parenting / February 24, 2020

Vanessa Shares Heartwarming Message for Husband Kobe and Daughter Gigi

In the English language, there’s a word for when a child loses a parent and when a woman loses a husband, but there’s no word for a woman who has lost both a husband and a child.

After weeks of private mourning, Vanessa Bryant appeared in public for the first time to host a memorial service for Kobe and Gianna Bryant at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday morning. No seats were empty in the house Kobe built: the ground floor was flooded by family, friends, and Kobe’s basketball family that included teammates and old opponents, coaches, agents, and more. Athletes and celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, the Kardashian family, Snoop Dogg, and Michael Phelps were also in attendance for the event.

The now mother of three struggled to hold back tears as Jimmy Kimmel invited her upstage to say a few words about her late husband and daughter.

“I’d like to thank everyone for coming today. The outpouring of love and support that my family has felt from around the world has been so uplifting. Thank you so much for all of your prayers,” she said, after taking a few moments to collect herself. “I’d like to talk about both Kobe and Gigi, but I’ll start with my baby girl first. My baby girl.”

Vanessa described her daughter as “sweet,” “thoughtful,” “confident,” and “competitive” with a smile that was “infectious, pure and genuine.” She recalled Gigi exercising unmatched baking skills when she made a cake for Kobe’s birthday last August.

Gigi “gravitated” towards Kobe in a way like no other father-daughter bond and shared the same passion for basketball, expressing strong interest in playing professionally for college and later on, the WNBA.

Though she was only 13 before she died, Gigi was already vocal about gender equality in the sports industry.

“She would have made a huge difference for women’s basketball. Gigi was motivated to change the way everyone viewed women in sports,” her mother said. “She wrote papers in school defending women and wrote about how the unequal pay difference for the NBA and WNBA leagues wasn’t fair, and I truly feel she made positive changes for the WNBA players now, since they knew Gigi’s goal was to eventually play in the WNBA.”

Vanessa shared her pain as a mother knowing that she will never watch Gigi graduate eighth grade, drive a car, walk her down the aisle at her wedding, or become grandparents to her children.

“Babe, you take care of our Gigi,” she went on as her eyes looked up at the ceiling.

In her second message honoring Kobe, Vanessa looked at the wonderful memories made she made with her husband since they met when she was 17 and a half years old. She fondly remembers Kobe’s romantic contributions to their marriage through the surprise handmade gifts, vacation getaways, and texts of love. She praised Kobe for being an “MVP” of girl dads, having done a wonderful job of raising four daughters and always putting family first.

“He was charismatic, loving, and romantic,” Vanessa said. “We hoped to grow old together, renew our wedding vows, and become the coolest grandparents.”

“We want our daughters to remember what an amazing father Kobe was.”

Vivian Wang

Vivian is New York City-based content writer focusing on lifestyle, travel, and culture. She thrives on a diet of Spotify, traveling, and homemade pasta.

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