Kobe Bryant‘s legacy continues to live on, especially in the heart of his beloved wife, Vanessa Bryant. The adored athlete was honored by Vanessa and the world at large on what would have been his 44th birthday.
Vanessa’s tribute to her late husband — who lost his life in the January 26, 2020 Calabasas helicopter crash alongside their second daughter Gianna and seven others — carries such weight as she is currently fighting the Los Angeles County for their involvement in the unauthorized capturing and distribution of the graphic crash photos.
The Invasion-of-privacy lawsuit, which was filed in September 2020, began trial on Wednesday, August 10, and Vanessa has largely remained off social media ever since. However, nothing was going to stop her from celebrating her baby.
Vanessa Bryant Returns To Instagram To Celebrate Late Husband’s Birthday
In her first post since July 31, Vanessa honored her husband of 19 years and high school sweetheart with a touching tribute. She uploaded a heartwarming photo of her and Kobe in their younger days. The legendary basketballer was seen wearing a Lakers t-shirt from when they won the NBA Championships in 2009.
He paired the sweaty grey t-shirt, which he wore over his No. 24 jersey, with a black Lakers cap while hugging an equally thrilled Vanessa. The doting wife grinned widely as Kobe hugged her close and they posed for the camera. Vanessa sweetly captioned the tear-jerking post, “Happy birthday, baby! I love you and miss you so much! #44 ❤️ @kobebryant.”
Comments on the post, which has garnered almost 200,000 likes at the time of this writing, were limited, but some die-hard fans couldn’t help but pay tribute to the late athlete. Vanessa’s good friend Monica Denise wrote, “Happy Birthday Kobe,” while model Naomi Campbell left several red heart and cake emojis.
Khloe Kardashian celebrated the late NBA star, writing, “Happy birthday ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ I love you V!!!” while WNBA legend Lisa Leslie wrote, “❤️❤️❤️Happy Birthday King Kobe.”
Twitter Remembers Kobe Bryant On His 44th Birthday
𝘼𝙣 𝙞𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙞𝙘 𝙛𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙜𝙖𝙢𝙚.
Kobe Bryant would have turned 44 today 💜💛 pic.twitter.com/w2gQ7U638b
— ESPN (@espn) August 23, 2022
Vanessa’s heart-melting shoutout to her husband was supported by Twitter fans who shared their fondest memory of the late Lakers player and remembered the inspiring legacy he left behind.
ESPN’s official Twitter account shared a touching clip of Kobe’s final game for the Lakers before his retirement. In the 1-minute-17-second clip, Kobe scores several points, proving he is indeed the G.O.A.T, while Vanessa, his eldest daughter Natalia, and late Gigi cheered him from the stands.
The iconic star shared a heartwarming moment with Vanessa, winking at her sweetly from the court as she smiled lovingly at him. The lovely clip that remembers Kobe as an iconic athlete and exceptional family man was captioned, “An iconic final game. Kobe Bryant would have turned 44 today 💜 💛.”
One fan wrote, “Remember this game so vividly. Tears were shed during the speech,” while another added, “Happy heavenly birthday to one of the best to ever play basketball 💜 💛.”
A heartbroken netizen commented, “Happy Birthday, Kobe man I missed you every day,” while another mentioned, “Happy Birthday Kobe Bryant! A life well-lived and an inspiration to many.”
Happy Birthday Kobe Bryant! A life well-lived and an inspiration to many 💛 pic.twitter.com/sJEdO4psTV
— ᴡᴀᴅᴇ ᴠɪʙᴇѕ (@WadeVibes) August 23, 2022
Vanessa Testified For The First Time Since Trial
Vanessa’s birthday post comes days after she took the stand and gave a heartwrenching testimony of how the thought that photos of her husband and daughter’s remains could leak keeps her awake at night.
As The Blast reported, on day 8 of the ongoing trial, the grieving matriarch took the stand for the first time since the trial began and described how she found out the devastating news.
She recalled being at home with her three daughters while nursing her youngest when she received news of a Los Angeles Times article that shared that LA County officials took and shared photos of her husband and daughters.
“I just remember not wanting to react because the girls were in the room,” she testified through tears, “I ran to the side of the house and broke down — I wanted to run and scream. It was like having the sensation of wanting to run off a pier into the ocean, but I can’t escape my body.”
Vanessa slammed the County for blindsiding her about the photos, not even having the dignity of informing her. “I trusted them not to do these things. I expected them to have more compassion, respect. My husband and daughter deserved dignity,” she lamented.