It is an emotional day for the Los Angeles Lakers and the basketball world at large as Kobe Bryant should have been celebrating his 42nd birthday on Sunday.
Bryant was killed in a helicopter accident on Jan. 26, along with his daughter Gianna and seven other individuals. It was a devastating and unsuspected event and one that shook everyone to their core.
The Lakers legend has been gone for nearly eight months, but his presence looms large in the NBA with players like LeBron James admitting they still think about him on a daily basis. Bryant’s impact on the game of basketball can not be understated as he served as a role model to countless upcoming and current players.
For his birthday, Vanessa Bryant took to Instagram to post a heartfelt message about her husband.
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) August 23, 2020
Vanessa has used her platform to highlight her late husband’s life, posting another heartwarming message on Father’s Day. Bryant’s love for his family and daughters was on full display after he retired from basketball, often seen coaching Gianna’s basketball team and later spending quality time with them on his off days.
During the NBA’s restart, players made sure to amplify the Black Lives Matter movement, and Vanessa also posted a photo of Kobe wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt showing that he supported social reform and change in the United States.
This year has been a difficult one for everyone due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but the Bryant family has had to also wrestle with Kobe and Gianna’s deaths. Vanessa has held strong publicly and her words in recent months are a reminder that everyone can turn something negative into a positive, following the popular “Mamba Mentality” mantra Kobe was known for.
Although this is the first time the world has to celebrate Bryant’s birthday without him here, he will always be remembered for his iconic basketball career and the love he had for Vanessa and their daughters.
Nike to celebrate “Mamba Week” in honor of Kobe Bryant
In an effort to recognize Bryant’s legacy and work, Nike has arranged “Mamba Week.” During the week, Nike will be releasing pieces of apparel and shoes.
Nike kicked off the celebration with the release of Bryant’s Kobe V Protro “Big Stage” on his birthday, an homage to the shoe the Lakers icon wore during his title run in 2010.
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