Since getting married in April 2001, Vanessa Bryant has been with Kobe Bryant every step of the way now but has rarely spoken to the media.
That unfortunately changed when Bryant’s husband and their daughter Gianna Bryant were among the nine lives lost in a Jan. 26 tragedy.
As the world has come together for her family, Bryant thanked Los Angeles Lakers fans for their support and asked for respect/privacy during this time.
At ‘A Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant’ on Feb. 24, Bryant did not have to speak but showed tremendous strength in a powerful speech.
With the Staples Center crowd giving Bryant a standing ovation as she walked to the stage, she first spoke about her ‘sweet’ 13-year-old daughter.
“My baby girl… Gianna Bryant is an amazingly sweet and gentle soul.”
Bryant then revealed what qualities her late second-oldest daughter shared between her (personality) and her late husband (competitiveness).
“Gigi was very competitive like her daddy, but Gianna had a sweet grace.
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.”
While most know Bryant as a basketball player and celebrity, his wife could not see him that way and shared all the nicknames she had for him.
“Kobe was known as 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 … I couldn’t see him as a celebrity nor just an incredible basketball player,” Bryant said about her husband.
As the world continues to process this tragedy, Bryant discussed the sad reality for her and her three daughters (Natalia, Bianka, and Capri) now.
“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.”
And to close, Bryant had an extremely powerful message for her husband.
“Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nani, BB, and CoCo.
We’re still the best team.”