The former first lady offered her support to Kobe Bryant's widow and her Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation

By Eric Todisco
May 19, 2021 11:38 AM
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Michelle Obama -- Vanessa Bryant
Michelle Obama, Vanessa Bryant
| Credit: Michelle Obama/Instagram; Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty

Michelle Obama is wearing her support for Vanessa Bryant.

Obama, 57, honored Kobe Bryant's widow, 39, and the work of the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation in a heartfelt Instagram post, Tuesday. In the photo, former first lady looked off-camera while sporting a tie-dye sweatshirt with "Mambacita" in pink ink.

In the caption, Obama offered her sympathy and support for Vanessa, who lost her NBA star husband and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna in the tragic January 2020 helicopter crash that also killed the seven other people on board.

"As a wife and mother, I have thought a lot about what Vanessa Bryant has been going through this past year," Obama wrote. "I was touched hearing her speak with such courage and strength this past weekend at the Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony honoring Kobe, and I am proud to join so many others in building upon Gianna's legacy by supporting the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation."

"@VanessaBryant, all my love to you and the girls and the next generation of athletes you are working to empower. #PlayGigisWay ❤️ ," she added.

Vanessa thanked the former first lady for her heartfelt message, commenting on the post, "This is so beautiful. I am truly touched. Thank you so much @michelleobama My love to you always. 🙏🏽💜."

Gianna Bryant and her father, former NBA player Kobe Bryant, attend the WNBA All-Star Game 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on July 27, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Gianna and Kobe Bryant
| Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty

The Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation was originally called the Mamba Sports Foundation when it was founded by the Los Angeles Lakers legend. Following the tragedy, Vanessa — who is also mom to daughters Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 22 months —changed the name to reflect her late daughter's legacy.

The foundation, according to its website, aims to provide underserved communities with sports programs that enrich their "socio-emotional and physical development."

It also allocates funding for athletes to join school or league teams, as well as sports programs that offer equal opportunities for young women.

RELATED VIDEO: Vanessa Bryant Pays Tribute to Late Daughter Gianna with Mambacita Tattoo

This past weekend, Vanessa delivered an emotional speech on her late husband's behalf as he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

"I wish my husband was here to accept this incredible award. He and Gigi deserve to be here to witness this," Vanessa said. "Gigi would be so proud to watch her daddy get enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame. I know Kobe was looking forward to being here. He asked the Hall of Fame to specifically add a sixth ticket for Capri, he was so happy."

"There will never be anyone like Kobe. Kobe was one of a kind. He was special, he was humble off the court but bigger than life. To all of our close friends and family that have been present for my girls and I, thank you," the family matriarch added.