Vanessa Bryant delivered an emotional tribute to her husband, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, during the pair’s memorial service on Monday.
Tears welling in her eyes, Bryant began by thanking everyone in attendance at the funeral, which was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, NBC News reported.
She spoke first of her daughter, Gigi, and then of Kobe, unable to hide the tears as she gave moving tributes to both.
Bryant spoke of the special father-daughter bond that Gianna shared with Kobe, saying they “naturally gravitated towards each other.”
“Gigi was sunshine. She brightened up my day every day. I miss looking at her beautiful face,” Bryant said.
She spoke of her daughter’s fierce and compassionate spirit and her talent both on and off the basketball court.
Bryant was proud of the daughter and sister Gigi was and lamented over the teen’s future that will never unfold.
“Gigi would have most likely become the best player in the WNBA. She would have made a huge difference,” she said. “She would have made a huge difference for women’s basketball. Gigi was motivated to change the way everyone viewed women in sports.”
Bryant said that while the world saw Kobe as a famous athlete and celebrity, she simply saw him as her husband and the father of her 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,” she said.
Bryant described the Los Angeles Lakers superstar as romantic and always thoughtful, with dreams of growing old alongside his wife.
“He isn’t going to be able to walk our girls down the aisle or spin me around on the dance floor while singing ‘PYT’ to me,” Bryant said, referring to the Michael Jackson hit. “But I want my daughters to know and remember the amazing person, husband and father he was.”
Both Gigi and Kobe, Bryant said, “were so easy to love.”
“Everyone naturally gravitated toward them. They were funny, happy, silly, and they loved life. They were so full of joy and adventure,” she said.
“God knew they couldn’t be on this Earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together.”
Wiping tears from her eyes, Bryant concluded her eulogy by saying goodbye to her husband and daughter.
“Babe, you take care of our Gigi,” she said. “And I got Nani, Bibi and Coco. We’re still the best team.
“We love and miss you, Boo-Boo and Gigi. May you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day. We love you both, and miss you, forever and always. Mommy.”
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