Kobe Bryant Hall of Fame Induction: Moving Family Photos from Vanessa Bryant

Vanessa Bryant enlisted her daughters and Michael Jordan to help pay tribute to the Lakers legend

01 of 14
Hall of Fame
Vanessa Bryant. ESPN

Vanessa Bryant spoke on her late husband Kobe Bryant's behalf as the iconic Los Angeles Lakers basketball player was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday night, May 15.

During the event in Springfield, Massachusetts, the mother of four gave a moving speech about her beloved husband's career and how he was looking forward to the Hall of Fame ceremony before his tragic death.

02 of 14
Bryant Jordan

Chicago Bulls legend and one of Kobe's mentors, Michael Jordan, joined Vanessa at the event to honor the late Lakers star.

"People don't know this but one of the reasons my husband played through injuries and pain was because he remembered being a little kid sitting in the nosebleeds with his dad to watch his favorite player play," Vanessa said before looking in Jordan's direction as the crowd cheered.

03 of 14
Naismith

"There will never be anyone like Kobe," Vanessa said during her speech. "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. That list is long and it takes a village but know that your kindness and love does not go unappreciated. I know that Kobe is thankful that you're all coming through for his girls. We love you and are forever grateful for you."

04 of 14
Vanessa Capri

Vanessa kept close to daughters Bianka, 4, and Capri, 2 next month, during the ceremony.

05 of 14
Vanessa Bryant
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, who would have potentially coached Gianna Bryant in college, was on hand to offer support Saturday night.

06 of 14
Ciara Ionescu

Also on hand to support the Bryants were good friend Ciara and family friend and mentee, WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu.

07 of 14

After her moving speech, Vanessa posted a photo of her "family," including Russell Wilson and Ciara, Sabrina Ionescu, Sharia Washington, LaLa Anthony, "uncle" Pau Gasol and his wife Catherine.

"Kobe, we wish you and GiGi were here for this special moment," Wilson captioned his own shot. "We will forever carry on yalls legacy. Congrats on being a true ICON. Grateful for you being an inspiration. Family always. 💜💜 Hall of Fame 🏀
@VanessaBryant ... you are a true Queen. Keep going sis!"

Ciara posted similarly, "Everything you've had to do hasn't been easy and you've done it with Poise, Grace and incredible Strength. The fire that was in Kob and Gi Gi is in you! You gave an incredible speech like the true Mamba Queen you are. You inspire me daily, and so many around the world. I'm just so proud of you. We are all always here for you and the girls.
Love you so so much!"

08 of 14
Vanessa Bryant and Natalia Bryant
Vanessa Bryant and daughter Natalia. Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images

On Friday night, Natalia Bryant, 18, received a jacket and ring for her all-star dad during the Tip-Off Celebration and Awards Gala, part of the larger 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony.

In the photos from the ceremony, Natalia posed wearing Kobe's ring and jacket while mom Vanessa stood beside her.

09 of 14
Vanessa Bryant
Natalia and Vanessa Bryant. Vanessa Bryant/Instagram

In an interesting twist, the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony was the same weekend as Natalia's high school prom. Vanessa shared a memory of her own prom to Instagram, alongside a photo of her glowing girl.

"When I was a senior in high school, Kobe and I were engaged and he had a playoff game the night of my prom," Vanessa wrote. "Kobe didn't want me going to prom without him and I didn't want to go without him. When we heard Natalia's prom night and Kobe's Hall of Fame night were on the same night, I looked at Natalia and said," well if it's any consolation, daddy kept me from going to my prom, so it's only right that he tried to keep you from going to yours." 😃 Of course we laughed because even in heaven, he's still trying to make moves and keep the boys away. Natalia's experienced so much loss, I couldn't let her miss out on her once in a lifetime opportunity to go to her senior prom. Thank you for flying out to accept daddy's Hall of Fame jacket and fly home the next morning."

10 of 14

Weekend downtime included a race between Bianka and "Uncle Russ."

11 of 14
Vanessa Bryant
Vanessa Bryant/Instagram

Prior to the ceremony, Vanessa took her daughters to Kobe's Hall of Fame exhibit, which features photos and videos of his years in the league.

12 of 14

Bianka got a sneak peek of the exhibit, which includes her dad's jerseys, too.

13 of 14
Vanessa Bryant
Vanessa Bryant. Vanessa Bryant/Instagram

Vanessa went head-to-head with her husband in a photo at the exhibit taken by Natalia, captioning it, "Love you always."

14 of 14

The exhibit also includes a clip of the athlete's Oscar-winning short film, Dear Basketball.

Related Articles