Vanessa Bryant posted a loving, heart-wrenching message to her late husband Kobe Bryant and their daughter Gianna on what would have been the NBA star’s 42nd birthday on Sunday.
“To my baby~ 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,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
“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.”
Vanessa Bryant’s post goes on to discuss her personal struggles since Kobe, 13-year-old Gigi and seven others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on January 26. The longtime Los Angeles Lakers star and others on board were on their way to a basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks.
“Our lives feel so empty without you and Gigi. I’ve been completely broken inside. As much as I want to cry, I put a smile on my face to make our daughters days shine a little brighter. I’m not the strong one, they are. They’re strong and resilient. I’m sure you’re proud of them. They put a smile on my face everyday,” she wrote.
“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. You were supposed to miss me. Gigi was supposed to be here with her sisters. It should’ve been me.”
Finally, she thanked Kobe for showing her what real love is and for “loving me enough to last several lifetimes.”
“I know my Gigi is celebrating you like she always has on our special days. I miss my thoughtful princess so much! Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri and I wish you a happy birthday my love. I love you for now, forever and for always,” she wrote.
Nike posts new Kobe commercial
Vanessa Bryant’s post comes during a flurry of odes and commemorations of Kobe on Sunday.
Nike released a commercial titled “Better | Mamba Forever” narrated by rapper Kendrick Lamar to launch what the shoe company is calling “Mamba Week.”
“Kobe taught us to be better,” Lamar says in the ad.
The ad features video and audio of Kobe, clips of Nike-sponsored athletes and others inspired by him as well as scenes from Black Lives Matter protests.
Kobe’s nickname was Black Mamba and Gianna, a talented basketball player like her father, was known as Mambacita.
The Lakers posted a highlight reel of Kobe’s highlights and interactions with family and fans on Sunday. He played his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, winning five titles before retiring in 2016.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to honor Kobe and Gigi before the team’s game with the Colorado Rockies Sunday afternoon.