Kobe’s wife’s devastating words for Gigi
Kobe Bryant's widow, Vanessa, said at a public memorial that the outpouring of love and support from around the world has uplifted the family in their grief.
She fought back tears on Tuesday at a memorial service in LA as she described her daughter Gianna as a sweet, thoughtful soul who always kissed her good morning and good night.
"There were a few occasions where I was absolutely tired from being up with Bianca and Capri," Vanessa said. "And I thought she had left for school without saying goodbye. I would text and say 'no kiss?' And Gianna would reply with 'Mama, I kissed you. You were asleep, and I didn't want to wake you'. She knew how much her morning and evening kisses meant to me, and she was so thoughtful to remember to kiss me every day."
Vanessa said Gianna loved swimming, singing along with hit songs, baking cookies and watching "Survivor" and NBA games with her father.
"She was daddy's girl, but I know she loves her mamma. And she would always tell me and show me how much she loved me," she said. "She was one of my very best friends."
She said the 13-year-old loved basketball so much she even offered her school's boys' team advice.
"Gigi was confident, but not in an arrogant way," she said. "She loved helping and teaching other people things at school she offered the boys basketball coaches to help give the boys basketball team some pointers. Like the triangle offence. She was very much like her daddy, and that they both liked helping people learn new things and master them. They were great teachers."
VANESSA'S DEVASTATING WORDS FOR GIGI
One of the most emotional parts of Vanessa's speech was when she spoke about everything the 13-year-old missed out on when her life was cut short.
"We will not be able to see Gigi go to high school with (her sister) Natalia, and ask her how her day went. We didn't get the chance to teach her how to drive a car," Vanessa said.
"I won't be able to tell her how gorgeous she looks on her wedding day. Never get to see my baby walk down the aisle, have a father daughter dance with her daddy. Dance on the dance floor with me or have babies of her own. Gianna would have been an amazing mommy. She was very maternal ever since she was really little."
Vanessa predicted that Gianna could have become "the best player in the WNBA." "She would have made a huge difference for women's basketball," she said.
"Gigi was motivated to change the way everyone viewed women in sports. She wrote papers in school defending women wrote about how the unequal pay difference for the NBA and the 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 the WNBA."
"Gigi was very competitive like her daddy. But Gianna had a sweet grace about her. Her smile was like sunshine. Her smile took up her entire face like mine. Kobe always said she was me," Vanessa said. "She had my fire. My personality and sarcasm. She was tender and loving on the inside. She had the best laugh. It was infectious. It was pure and genuine."
Showing remarkable poise, Vanessa spoke about the special nature of Kobe and Gianna's bond, saying they "naturally gravitated towards each other".
"She had Kobe's ability to listen to a song and have all the lyrics memorised after listening to the song a couple of times. It was their secret talent," she said. "She was an incredible athlete. She was great at gymnastics, soccer, softball, dance and basketball. She was an incredible dancer too. She loved to swim, dance, do cartwheels and jump into our swimming pool and Gigi loved her Tik Tok dances.
"She had so much swag and rhythm ever since she was a baby. She gave the best hugs and the best kisses. She had gorgeous soft lips like her daddy. She would hug me and hold me so tight. I could feel her love me and loved the way she looked up at me while hugging me. It was as if she was soaking me all in. We love each other so much, I miss her so much.
"I miss her sweet kisses. I miss her cleverness. I miss her sarcasm. Her wit and that adorable sly side smile followed with a grin and a burst of laughter.
KOBE AND GIGI'S SECRET TALENT
KOBE'S ROMANTIC SIDE REVEALED
Vanessa then gave mourners an intimate portrait of her husband and "soulmate".
"Kobe was known as a fierce competitor on the basketball court. The greatest of all time, a writer and Oscar winner, and the black mamba," she began. "But to me, he was Kobe-Kobe, my boo-boo, my bay-boo. My Papi Chulo. I was his Vivi, his Principesa, his reina, his queen Mamba. and is the Friski-mineski, dabeli-ski.
"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. He was mine. He was my everything.
Kobe and I have been together since I was 17 and a half years old. I was his first girlfriend, his first love, his wife, his best friend. His confidant, and his protector. He was the most amazing husband."
She revealed Bryant's romantic side, how he would plan special anniversary trips and gifts, including the blue dress Rachel McAdams wore in the Notebook film.
"When I asked him why he chose the blue dress he said it was because it's when Allie comes back to Noah (in the film)," she said.
"We had hoped to grow old together like the movie. We really had an amazing love story. We loved each other with our whole beings. Two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family, and raising our sweet and amazing girls."
Vanessa read a text Bryant had sent her a couple of weeks before he died. "It mentioned how he wanted to spend time together. Just the two of us with our out kids, because I'm his best friend first," she said.
"We never got the chance to do it. We were busy taking care of our girls and just doing our regular, everyday responsibilities. But I'm thankful I have that recent text. It means so much to me.
"Kobe wanted us to renew our vows. He wanted Natalia to take over his company, and he wanted to travel the world together. We always talked about how we would be the fun grandparents to our daughter's children. He would have been the coolest grandpa.
"Kobe was the MVP of girl dads. He never left the toilet seat up. 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."
Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others were killed last month in a helicopter crash in foggy weather.