Mindy Kaling Honors Kobe Bryant's Birthday with Memory of Daughter Wearing His Jersey at Ballet

"I’m reminded of your impact daily," Mindy Kaling says of late Kobe Bryant, who would've turned 43 on Monday

Mindy Kaling, Kobe Bryant
Photo: Mindy Kaling/Instagram; Inset: Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty; Harry How/Getty

Mindy Kaling knows Kobe Bryant's legacy firsthand.

Monday marked what would have been the late NBA star's 43rd birthday, and in honor of the day, Kaling shared a sweet photo of her 3-year-old daughter Katherine "Kit" Swati proudly wearing one of his Lakers jerseys in order to illustrate his influence.

"Happy birthday Kobe. I'm reminded of your impact daily," writes Kaling, 42, in the caption. "For instance, here is a picture of my daughter at ballet when she refused to take off your jersey and put on her leotard and tutu."

Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020, alongside one of his daughters, 13-year-old Gianna, and other passengers. He is survived by wife Vanessa and their other daughters Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 2.

Mourning the loss of the athlete back in January 2020, Kaling — who is also mom to 10-month-old son Spencer Avuwrote on Twitter at the time, "#KobeBryant you were the greatest. You made our city and the rest of the world so proud. Every basketball fan knew the magnificence of the Mamba. Love and healing to Vanessa and those little girls. God, this is just the worst ever."

Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday.

Kaling recently opened up to PEOPLE about being a working mother, admitting that it "absolutely takes a village" to raise kids.

"I wouldn't be able to keep my full-time professional career and have two children under the age of 3 without the incredibly strong relationship I have with my nanny," she said. "Also with my dad, who comes over to the house at least twice a day to take my son out for walks and to pick up my daughter and bring her home. My village is small and I wish it was bigger."

RELATED VIDEO: Mindy Kaling Reveals the Sweet (and Subtle!) Hollywood Inspiration Behind Her Kids' Names

"We carry guilt about needing help and most women in the country don't necessarily have the same resources," added Kaling. "A lot of people are lucky because they have family who can help them, but my mom passed away in 2011, so I really didn't have a choice. Particularly during the pandemic, we really got to see how precious and how indefensible childcare providers are."

The writer/actress also said, "If I didn't have the advice and camaraderie of other women and other moms, I would not be able to do my job as a mom, as the breadwinner in my house, as a writer, as a performer. It's particularly indispensable for someone like me."

Related Articles