Vanessa Bryant offered a heartfelt and emotional eulogy for her late husband and daughter, Kobe and Gianna Bryant, at the celebration of life for the NBA icon on Monday night.
As per reports, Vanessa was one of several people to pay tribute to her husband and daughter, and did so with admirable bravery and pride.
The 37-year-old took the stage at the Staples Center – home of the LA Lakers – after an introduction from talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel. “I’d like to thank everyone for coming today,” she began. “The outpouring of love and support that my family has felt from around the world has been so uplifting.”
Vanessa was joined by her other daughters – Natalie, 17, Bianka, 3, and 7-month-old Capri – as well as Kobe’s former basketball teammates and colleagues.
She began by eulogizing her daughter, 13-year-old Gianna, who died in the helicopter crash along with her father last month.
“My baby girl,” Vanessa said. “Gianna Bryant is an amazingly sweet and gentle soul. She was always thoughtful.
“She was daddy’s girl but I know she loved her mamma. She was one of my very best friends.”
She continued: “We will not be able to see Gianna go to highschool with Natalia … we didn’t get the chance to teach her how to drive a car,” said Vanessa. “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 … or have babies of her own.”
“I miss you, all of you, every day,” Vanessa finished, before moving on to her husband, Kobe, whom she married back in 2001.
“He was the most amazing husband. Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words,” she said.
“I have no idea how I deserved a man who loved or wanted me more than Kobe.
“We loved each other with our whole beings, two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls.”
She continued: “Kobe was the MVP of girl dads, or MVD. He never left the toilet seat up. He always told the girls how beautiful and smart they are. He taught them how to be brave.”
“But I want my daughters to know the amazing person, husband and father he was. The kind of man who wanted to teach the future generations to be better… he taught us all valuable lessons about life and sports… we’re so thankful he left those lessons and stories behind for us.”
Concluding her speech, Vanessa said:
“They were so easy to love. Everyone naturally gravitated toward 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 have them together,” said Vanessa, before telling her late husband. “Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nani, B.B. and Koko. We’re still the best team.
“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, Mommy.”
The memorial’s date honored Gianna’s No. 2 jersey that she wore at the Mamba Sports Academy, and Kobe’s iconic No. 24 from the latter half of his Lakers career.
Rest in peace, Kobe and Gianna Bryant, and indeed the other souls who lost their lives in the tragic accident.
We’re sending our thoughts and prayers in the direction of Vanessa Bryant and the Bryant family. Share this article if you want to do the same.