In the image, Gianna, 13, has a big smile on her face as she holds a basketball under her arm and wears her father's no. 24 Lakers jersey

By Maria Pasquini
February 02, 2020 10:51 AM

Vanessa Bryant is remembering her daughter Gianna.

On Saturday, Vanessa shared a touching illustration of her 13-year-old daughter, who was killed in a helicopter crash last week that also claimed the lives of her father Kobe Bryant and seven others.

In the image, Gianna, who’s dressed in her dad’s no. 24 Lakers jersey, has a big smile on her face as she holds a basketball under her arm. In another nod to her father’s team, Gianna also wears a purple and gold jacket.

“Seeing my babygirl smile and happy again with a basketball 🏀 under her arm, wrapped in 💜💛love just warmed my heart,” she wrote, before thanking illustrator Reina Koyano for creating the image.

“Thank you for this,” she wrote. “My Gigi.❤️ #Mambacita.”

Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna
Allen Berezovsky/Getty

On her own social media page, the artist shared that out of respect for the Bryant family, she would not be selling prints of the illustration.

“With all respect, I will not be selling prints of this piece. Instead, I would like to offer this as free downloadable wallpaper for your phones,” Koyano wrote. “I hope this serves as reminders for all of us that life is precious, and the fact that we can wake up to a new day every day is truly a blessing.”

“Thank you!” Vanessa, 37, wrote, commenting on the post.

RELATED: Gianna Bryant’s Mamba Academy Teammates Attend Lakers’ First Game After Fatal Helicopter Crash

Vanessa shared the heartwarming post hours after her daughter and husband were honored on Friday night as the Lakers played their first game since the tragic crash.

Among the emotional tributes that took place ahead of the game, two court side seats were left open in honor of the pair. Each of their jerseys were laid on the seats along with bouquets of red roses.

“There is no #24 without #2,” Vanessa wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of their side-by-side jerseys.

The Los Angeles Lakers honor Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna
Harry How/Getty Images

In the week since the NBA legend and his daughter’s deaths, thousands of fans have left mementos and tributes at the Staples Center, some of which will be given to Vanessa.

In a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times, Lee Zeidman, the president of Staples Center, L.A. Live and Microsoft Theater, said that as they begin dismantling the tributes on Sunday, following the Super Bowl, many items will be given a new home.

“Vanessa had reached out to us and said, ‘Our family would like the items out there.’ So we’re going to catalog every one of them. By that I mean, T-shirts, letters, basketballs, stuffed animals, toys. We’re going to put those in specially made containers and we’re going to ship them to the family,” he said.

RELATED: Lakers Are All Introduced as Kobe Bryant in an Emotional Tribute Before First Game Since Fatal Crash

Vanessa previously revealed that while she is “devastated” over the loss of her husband, 41, and their daughter, she takes comfort “in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved.”

“We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon,” she wrote on Wednesday, as she spoke out for the first time following their deaths.

Vanessa went on to announce that the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up a charity for the seven other victims of the helicopter crash: John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan.

Kobe and Vanessa Bryant with daughters
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

On Friday, the NBA announced that they would be making a $100,000 donation to the foundation in partnership with the National Basketball Players Association. Shaquille O’Neal has also said that he will be donating the proceeds from his annual pre-Super Bowl party to the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation as well as to the families of the victims.

“It was just the right thing to do,” O’Neal, 47, told PEOPLE on Friday at the event. “A lot of people were lost, my heart is with the families.

If you would like to help the families of the victims of the crash, consider donating to the Mamba on Three Fund. Contributions to the Mamba Sports Foundation will help support youth sports.

Advertisement