Kobe Bryant's Daughter Natalia Honors Late Sister Gianna on What Would've Been Her 14th Birthday
Gianna Bryant was just 13 when she died alongside her father, basketball legend Kobe Bryant, in a January helicopter crash
On Friday, the 17-year-old paid tribute to her younger sibling on what would have been her 14th birthday, writing on Instagram, "Happy 14th Birthday Gigi! ❤️"
Alongside a photo of the two sisters hugging, Natalia wrote, "I miss your smile everyday but I know you’re always smiling down on us from heaven with daddy."
"I LOVE YOU. 👼," she added.
Gianna died alongside her father Kobe, 41, in a January helicopter crash. At the time, they were traveling to a youth basketball game in with parents and players from the Mamba Sports Academy girls’ team when their aircraft crashed amid foggy conditions in Calabasas, California.
"You are part of MY SOUL forever. I miss you so much everyday," she said. "I wish I could wake up and have you here with me. I miss your smile, your hugs and your giggles. I miss EVERYTHING about YOU, Gigi. I LOVE YOU so much!!!!!!!"
In March, Vanessa shared several photos of Natalia posing in front of a mural honoring her late Kobe and Gianna as she headed to her winter formal.
“❤️ my babies. Natalia. #winterformal,” Vanessa captioned one shot. In another frame, which featured the family standing in front of the mural, the mom recited the lyrics to "Smile" by Nat King Cole in the caption.
Earlier this month, Gianna and her two Mamba Academy teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, who also died in the crash, were named honorary picks during the WNBA draft.
At the time, Vanessa posted an emotional tribute to Gianna, sharing how proud she was of her daughter for being the “youngest draft pick.”
“I’m so proud of you, Gigi,” she wrote alongside a photo of her late daughter in her Mamba Academy uniform.
“God I miss you baby,” the mother of four continued. “You deserved to live a long, healthy and happy life. I wish I could hold you and tell you how proud I am of you. You’re the best, baby girl. Mommy loves and misses you more than I could ever express.”
At Kobe and Gianna’s memorial on Feb. 24, Vanessa tearfully spoke of how much she misses her late husband and daughter.
“My baby girl,” she said, taking a moment to compose herself. “Gianna Bryant is an amazingly sweet and gentle soul. She was always thoughtful.”
She continued, “She was daddy’s girl but I know she loved her mamma. She was one of my very best friends.”
At the memorial, Vanessa noted that the budding athlete “was very competitive like her daddy,” but that “Kobe always said she was me — she had my fire, my personality and sarcasm, but 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.”