At Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s memorial service at Staples Center in Los Angeles, U.S., Vanessa Bryant paid tribute to her late husband and 13-year-old daughter, who died in a helicopter crash on January 26.
Visibly shaken, Vanessa started her speech by talking about her “baby girl,” who always kissed her good night and good morning. “She was daddy's girl, but I know she loved her mama, and she would always show me and tell me that she loved me.”
Gianna aka Gigi loved to bake, make TikTok dance videos, and help people. She was an “incredible” athlete like her dad, the basketball legend. “At school, she offered to help give the boys' basketball team some pointers, like the triangle offense,” Vanessa said, to the delight of the crowd who knew that Gigi was planning to follow her dad’s footsteps.
“Gigi would've most likely become the best player in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). 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 for the National Basketball Association (NBA) and WNBA leagues wasn't fair. I truly feel she made positive change for the WNBA players now because they knew Gigi's goal was to eventually play in the WNBA.”
On to her “soul mate,” Vanessa recounted how Kobe was her “everything.” He would make the sweetest gestures like planning anniversary trips and giving her handmade gifts.
One time, he even got her the actual notebook and blue dress that Rachel McAdams wore in The Notebook. “When I asked him why he chose the blue dress, he said it was [because she wore it in] the scene where Allie comes back to Noah. We had hoped to grow old together like [them]. We really had an amazing love story.”
Vanessa said Kobe was “the MVP of dads, or MVD.” He supported and helped take care of their girls, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. The youngest, Capri or Koko, is just eight months old. “I am so thankful Kobe heard Koko say, ‘Dada.’”
“He [will not be] here to drop off Bianka and Capri at pre-K or kindergarten, and he will not be here to tell me to get a grip when we have to leave the kindergarten classroom. [He will not] be able to walk our girls down the aisle or spin me around the dance floor, singing ‘P.Y.T.’ to me. But I want my daughters to know and remember the amazing person, husband, and father he was. The kind of man who wanted to teach future generations to be better and keep them from making his own mistakes."
“Babe, you take care of our Gigi. I got Nati, Bibi, and Koko, and we're still the best team.”
Watch her full speech below:
About 20,000 people attended the memorial service, including celebrity guests and friends of the family. NBA legends Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal gave moving speeches, while Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, and Alicia Keys performed for the crowd.
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