Kobe Bryant’s surviving family members write touching tributes to the NBA legend after he and 13-year-old daughter Gianna tragically passed away in a January 26 helicopter crash.
On Sunday, what would have been the basketball player’s 42nd birthday, wife Vanessa Bryant wrote her late husband a touching message that honored all the loving memories they shared together.
“To my baby,” Vanessa said on Instagram. “Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU! I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi. I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh.”
“I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are. I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way,” she continued.
In her note, Vanessa admitted that she “always wanted to go first so that I selfishly didn’t have to feel this heartache.”
“I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare. I wish I could surprise our girls and welcome you and Gigi home to us. I’m mad I didn’t go first. I always wanted to go first so that I selfishly didn’t have to feel this heartache,” she revealed. “You were supposed to miss me. Gigi was supposed to be here with her sisters.... There’s so much I wish I could tell you and show you and Gigi... So many milestones for our girls. So many things you would be proud of.”
Despite his passing, Vanessa is grateful that Kobe showed her “what real love is.”
“Thank YOU for everything. I know my Gigi is celebrating you like she always has on our special days. I miss my thoughtful princess so much! [Their daughters together] Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri and I wish you a happy birthday my love. I love you for now, forever and for always,” she concluded.
That day, Kobe and Vanessa’s eldest daughter Natalia, 17, also wrote her father an emotional tribute, calling him “the best movie buddy I could have ever asked for.”
“Happy Bithday Dad. I miss your smile, laugh and big bear hugs. Happy Birthday to the best movie buddy I could have ever asked for,” Natalie wrote over a throwback photo of her and her dad. “I will always remember our late night drives to the movie theater with the windows rolled down and listening to our favorite songs. I love you forever and always. Always, Slim.”
On Monday, Herb J. Wesson Jr., president of the Los Angeles City Council, announced plans to rename a street near Staples Center as “Kobe Bryant Boulevard.”
“Figueroa Street will soon be Kobe Bryant Boulevard between Olympic and MLK,” Wesson was quoted as saying via TMZ.
“Kobe’s legacy is bigger than basketball. Kobe Bryant Boulevard will be a reminder to everyone, young and old who drive down it, there is no obstacle too big and that with the #Mambamentality, anything is possible,” Wesson added.
Since 1999, Bryant and his Los Angeles Lakers teammates played games at the arena, located in downtown Los Angeles.
August 24 is also “Kobe Bryant Day” in Orange County, as Bryant’s jersey numbers for the Lakers were “8” and “24.”