During the celebration of life ceremony for Kobe Bryant on Monday, he was remembered as many things, most notably a great father. But he was undoubtably one of the best basketball players of all time, something that may have been due in part to his father, Joe Bryant, being a pro baller himself in the 70s and 80s.
Joe recently was a guest on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, and talked about what advantage growing up around basketball gave to Kobe.
“Well I figure it is helpful in the sense that our children get a chance to meet or go places where the normal child doesn’t get a chance to go to you know? Meaning that after a game, when you’re 10, 11, or 12 years old you can go in the locker room and talk to Magic or talk to Kareem, or talk to George Gervin or whatever the case may be, you get a chance to get on the court and shoot around with them where a lot of kids don’t get that opportunity so, and then also they understand the ups and downs and the challenges that their parents went through, that their father went through it in the sport,” Joe said.
“As parents, we try to give our kids advice just to stay focused, work hard and those types of things that you been through…So that’s the advantage.”
While Joe chose not to speak at the ceremony on Monday, his daughter-in-law, Vanessa, did. She grave a brave and emotional remembrance of her husband and their daughter.
“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 Bryant on her late husband, Kobe Bryant: "I couldn't see him as a celebrity, nor just an incredible basketball player. He was my sweet husband, and the beautiful father of our children." 💜💛 #KobeFarewell https://t.co/CRA2ei6Yaj
— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) February 24, 2020
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.”