Vanessa Bryant mourns the loss of her husband Kobe and daughter Gianna at their memorial service in Los Angeles.
Monday at the Staples Center, the 37-year-old gave an emotional speech eulogizing her loved ones, who were killed in a January helicopter crash.
While speaking about her 13-year-old, Vanessa remembers Gianna — also known as Gigi — as a sweet soul who was an undeniably talented basketball player.
“Her smile was like sunshine,” Vanessa told the crowd. “Her smile took up her entire face. Like me. Kobe always said she was like me. She had my fire, my personality and sarcasm. She was tender and loving on the inside. She had the best laugh. She had the best laugh. It was infectious. It was pure and genuine.”
Vanessa also mentioned how Gianna was an advocate for equal pay between male and female athletes.
“She wrote papers in school defending women and wrote about how the unequal pay difference for the NBA and WNBA leagues wasn’t fair, and I truly feel she made positive changes for the WNBA players now, since they knew Gigi’s goal was to eventually play in the WNBA,” she exclaimed.
When speaking about Kobe, Vanessa remembers the iconic athlete as her soul mate who was “the MVP of girl dads.”
“He always told the girls how beautiful and smart they are. He taught them how to be brave and how to keep pushing forward when things get tough,” she said.
Additionally, Vanessa revealed Kobe gave her the exact blue dress worn by Rachel McAdams in “The Notebook.”
“And it was because it was the scene when [McAdams’ character] Allie comes back to [Ryan Gosling’s character] Noah,” she said. “We hoped to grow old together like the movie. We really had an amazing love story. We loved each other with our whole beings, and two imperfect people raising a beautiful family.”
Before the service, Vanessa honored her daughter by posting a photo of the tattoo that friend and pro soccer player Sydney Leroux got in memory of Gianna.
Number 2 is also Leroux’s jersey number on the soccer field.
The Calabasas crash also claimed the lives of Gianna’s basketball teammate Alyssa Altobelli; Alyssa’s father and Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli; Alyssa’s mother, Keri Altobelli; Harbor Day School basketball coach Christina Mauser; middle school student Payton Chester; Payton’s mother, Sarah Chester; and pilot Ara Zobayan.