Though it hasn’t been easy, Vanessa Bryant is doing her best to honor the legacies of her late husband, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, and their daughter Gianna Bryant.
Recently, Vanessa, 37, shared a few video clips from Gianna’s jersey retirement ceremony at Harbor Day School in Newport Beach. Her teachers and classmates decorated the school gym with balloons and floral arrangements that spelled out “Gianna” and her jersey number. “My Gianna,” Vanessa writes in the caption. “God I miss you. I’ve been so lucky to have woken up to see your gorgeous face and amazing smile for 13 years. Wish it would’ve been until my last breath. Mommy loves you to the moon and back. Infinity plus 1. #2 #Mambacita #GigiBryant.”
In a series of video clips from the ceremony, Gianna’s music teacher spoke about her kind-hearted nature. “I taught Gianna since she was in the fifth grade. This is a person who never slung mud. Talking bad about others — I never heard her do that. She was always above that.” The student council faculty advisor shared the story of Gianna’s run for student council. “We gave her one assignment and she ran with it as quickly and as eagerly as anyone I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Gianna was an amazing leader in our student council. We will always remember her will to make things better and to strive for excellence.”
In the final video, Gianna’s #2 jersey was officially retired. Gianna’s basketball coach did the unveiling and informed the crown that the framed jersey would be hung in the school’s gymnasium.
Shortly before Gianna’s school tribute, Vanessa also honored her husband on Instagram. “Miss you so much,” she captioned the photo. “Miss you saying, ‘Bonjourno principessa/reina.’”
Kobe Bryant met his wife Vanessa in November 1999 and proposed six months later. The pair wed in 2001 and went on to have four daughters: Natalia, Gianna, Bianka and Capri.
Kobe and Gianna tragically passed away in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. The devastating news sent shockwaves throughout the world. Thousands of fans left flowers and memorabilia in front of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Staples Center.
“We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately,” Vanessa wrote in her statement following this tragedy. “There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon.”