Much of the celebration of life ceremony for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna focused on what an incredible father he was. Michael Jordan gave an emotional speech in which he detailed that. Bryant proudly called himself a “girl dad,” and a newly resurfaced photo of him and Gigi shows a perfect example of him being exactly that.
A photo shared by ESPN shows Bryant in his full Lakers uniform at Gianna’s school for career day, while she proudly wears one of his Olympic gold medals around her neck. The shot appears to be from when she was four or five years old.
Following his retirement from basketball in 2016, Bryant shifted much of his focus to being Gianna’s coach for her Mamba Sports Academy team.
Gigi wanted Kobe to come to her school's Career Day.
— ESPN (@espn) February 25, 2020
“Gianna Bryant is an amazingly sweet and gentle soul,” Vanessa said. “She was always thoughtful. She always kissed me goodnight and kissed me good morning. There were a few occasions where I was absolutely tired from being up with Bianka and Capri and I thought she had left for school without saying goodbye. I text and say ‘No kiss?’ and Gianna would reply with, ‘Mama, I kissed you but you were asleep and I didn’t want to wake you.'”
“She knew how much her morning and evening kisses meant to me. She was so thoughtful to remember to kiss me every day,” she continued. “She was Daddy’s girl but I know she loved her mama. She would always tell me and show me how much she loved me. She was one of my very best friends. She loved faith, she loved putting a smile on everyone’s faces.”
Vanessa also talked about Gianna’s aspirations to follow in Kobe’s footsteps and become a great pro basketball player.
“Gigi likely would have become the best player in the WNBA,” Vanessa added. “She would have made a huge difference in women’s basketball.
“I cannot imagine life without her. Mommy, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and Daddy love you so much, Gigi. I will miss your sweet handmade cards, your sweet kisses and your gorgeous smile. I miss you, all of you, every day. I love you.”
Vanessa then talked about her husband.
“I couldn’t see him as a celebrity, nor just an incredible basketball player,” she said. “He was my sweet husband and the beautiful father of our children. He was my — he was my everything.”