Kobe's wife of nearly 20 years was emotional as she took the stage to pay tribute to her late husband and daughter at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, nearly a month after their heartbreaking deaths on Jan. 26.
See Vanessa's full speech about Gigi below.
"Thank you. Thank you all so much for being here. It means so much to us. Love you too. First, I’d like to thank everyone for coming today. The outpouring of love and support that my family has felt from around the world has been so uplifting. Thank you so much for all your prayers. I’d like to talk about both Kobe and Gigi but I’ll start with my baby girl first.
My baby girl, Gianna Bryant, is an amazingly sweet and gentle soul. She was always thoughtful. She always kissed me good night and kissed me good morning. There are a few occasions where I was absolutely tired from being up with Bianca and Capri and I thought she had left to school without saying goodbye. I text without saying '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. She was Daddy's girl but I know she loved her mama and she would always tell me and show me how much she loved me. She was one of my very best friends.
She loved to bake. She loved putting a smile on everyone’s face. Last August, she made a beautiful birthday cake for her daddy. It had fondant and looked like it had blue ivy crystals. Kobe’s birthday cake looked like it was professionally decorated. She made the best chocolate chip cookies. She loved watching cooking shows and Cupcake Wars with me and she loved watching Survivor and NBA games on TV with her daddy. She also loved watching Disney movies with her sisters. 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. 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.
Kobe and Gianna naturally gravitated toward each other. She had Kobe’s natural ability to listen to a song and have all the lyrics to the song memorized after listening to the song a couple of times. It was their secret talent. 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 jumps into our swimming pool. And Gigi loved her TikTok dances. Gigi was confident but not in an arrogant way. She loved helping and teaching other people things. At school she offered the boys’ basketball coaches to help give the boy’s basketball team some pointers, like the triangle offense. She was very much like her daddy in that she loved helping other people learn new things and master them. They were great teachers.
Gigi was very sweet. She always made sure everyone was OK. She was our shepherd. She always kept our family together. She loved family traditions, family movie night and game night on vacations were important to her. Gigi always looked out for everyone. She was very much in tune with our feelings and wanted the best for us. Gianna was smart. She knew how to read, speak and write Mandarin. She knew Spanish, she had great grades and kept them up, all while becoming an incredible basketball player. She was president of school spirit on school council. She was director’s assistant for her school play just like her big sister. She was looking forward to graduating 8th grade and moving on to high school with her big sister Natalia. I’m so happy she was given the opportunity to know she was accepted to the same high school. She was really happy.
Gianna made us all proud and she still does. Gianna never tried to conform. She was always herself. She was a nice person, a leader, a teacher; wearing a white tee, black leggings, a denim jacket, white high top converse, and a flannel tied around her waist with straight hair was her go to style. She had so much swag and rhythm ever since 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. I loved the way she looked up at me while she hugged me. It was as if she was soaking me all in. We loved each other so much. I miss you so much.
She was so energetic. I couldn’t keep up with her energy. She lapped Natalia and I on a track once. She was about 6 years old. We let her have a head start. She still bested us. I miss her sweet kisses. I miss her cleverness. I miss her sarcasm, her wit, and that adorable sly side smile followed by a grin and a burst of laughter. We shared the same cat that ate the canary grin. Gigi was sunshine, she brightened up my day every day. I miss looking at her beautiful face. She was always so good, a rule follower. I knew I could always count on her to do the right thing. She was the most loving daughter, thoughtful little sister and silly big sister. She happily helped carry the littles’ diaper bag and played with them. She liked helping me with Bianca and Capri. Bianca loved going to the playground, swimming and jumping on the trampoline with Gigi. I used to tell Gigi that I thought Koko considered her her favorite sister. Capri would smile from ear to ear when Gigi walked into the room and Capri reminds me a lot of Gianna. They look alike and smile with their whole face, pure joy.
We will not be able to see Gigi go to high school with Natalia and ask her how her day went. We didn’t get the chance to teach her how to drive a car. I won’t be able to tell her how gorgeous she looks on her wedding day. I’ll never get to see my baby girl 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’ve been an amazing mommy. She was very maternal ever since she was really little.
Gigi would’ve most likely become the best player in the WNBA. She would’ve made a huge difference -- she would’ve made a huge difference for women’s basketball. Gigi was motivated to change the way everyone viewed women in sports. She wrote papers in school defending women and wrote about how the unequal pay difference in the NBA and WNBA leagues was unfair. I truly feel she made positive changes for the WNBA players now since they knew Gigi’s goal was to eventually play in the WNBA. I’m still so proud of Gianna. She made a difference and was kind to everyone she met for the 13 years she were here on earth. Her classmates shared many fond memories of Gianna with us and those stories reminded me that Gianna loved and showed everyone that no act of kindness is ever too small to make a difference in someone’s life. She was always, always, always considerate of others and their feelings. She was a beautiful, kind, happy, silly, thoughtful, and loving daughter and sister. She was so full of life and had so much more to offer this world.
I cannot imagine life without her. Mommy, Natalia, Bianca, Capri, and Daddy love you so much Gigi. I will miss your sweet handmade cards, your sweet kisses, and your gorgeous smile. I miss you, all of you, every day. I love you."
See more from Kobe and Gianna's memorial in the video below.