Vanessa Bryant Pays Heartfelt Tribute to Daughter Gigi on Her 18th Birthday

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The pain still feels raw for Vanessa Bryant, even four years after the unimaginable tragedy that took the lives of her husband Kobe and 13-year-old daughter Gianna “Gigi.” But on what would have been Gigi’s 18th birthday, Vanessa found strength to honor her late daughter’s memory in the most beautiful way.

Credit: Allen Berezovsky / Getty

Taking to Instagram on May 1st, the 41-year-old widow shared a poignant video montage celebrating Gigi’s bright spirit and passion for basketball. “Happy birthday to my gorgeous girl, Gigi! I love you. I miss you. I’m so proud of you,” Vanessa wrote with unmistakable emotion.

She reflected on the milestones Gigi should have experienced, writing “2024 was your year. You would’ve been graduating high school and choosing which college to go to. (I would’ve been trying my hardest to convince you to stay close to home).”

Credit: Allen Berezovsky / Getty

Vanessa went on to express her pride in the work Kobe and Gigi did to elevate women’s sports. “You continue to motivate me and inspire young women and girls daily. I love you always, Mommy.

In a poignant tribute, Nike also honored Gigi’s enduring legacy by releasing the Kobe 8 Protro “Mambacita” sneaker on her birthday. The design draws inspiration from Gigi’s youth basketball team with her name, number, and a transformative butterfly pattern embodying her impact on the game.

“Personal touches remind you to play with joy, curiosity, and competitiveness while never taking any opportunity for granted, just like Gigi,” Nike stated. Profits from the shoes benefit the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation supporting underprivileged youth athletes, a cause close to the Bryant family’s hearts.

Though the grief remains, Vanessa’s loving words and Nike’s symbolic shoes ensure Gianna’s bright life continues to shine as an inspiration for generations of young players to come. Her “Mambacita” spirit will be forever cherished.

Source: vt.

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