Vanessa Bryant Receives Birthday Cake for Late Daughter Gianna from Kobe's Former Lakers Teammate
Gianna Bryant was 13 when she was killed in a January helicopter crash alongside her father
In addition to her own tribute to her “sweet baby girl,” Vanessa shared a photo of a cake that Pau Gasol, her late husband Kobe Bryant‘s former Los Angeles Lakers teammate, and his wife Catherine McDonnell sent in honor of Gianna’s birthday.
“Happy birthday Gigi,” read a topper on the white and gold cake, which was covered with multi-colored butterfly decorations as well as a banner on the bottom with Gianna’s “Mambacita” nickname.
“Thank you @paugasol @catmcdonnel7,” Vanessa, 37, wrote alongside the photo.
Gasol, who played on the Lakers from 2008 to 2014, and his wife also sent a special message to the family, posting a photo of the pair clasping hands while wearing red bracelets to honor Gianna, was killed alongside her father in a January helicopter crash.
“Happy birthday Gigi!” he wrote alongside the image. “Missing you an extra lot today.”
“We love you V!” he wrote at the time, while McDonell added, “You are so loved.”
As she commemorated Gianna’s birthday, Vanessa wrote that she missed “everything” about her late daughter.
"Happy 14th Birthday to my sweet baby girl, Gianna. Mommy loves you more than I can ever show you,” she wrote alongside a smiling photo of her daughter.
"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!!!!!!!"
Vanessa’s 17-year-old daughter Natalia also shared an emotional tribute to her sister.
"Happy 14th Birthday Gigi! ❤️" she wrote on Instagram, alongside a photo of the two sisters hugging. "I miss your smile everyday but I know you’re always smiling down on us from heaven with daddy."
"I LOVE YOU. 👼," she added.
Last 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, writing, “I’m so proud of you, Gigi.”
“God I miss you baby,” she 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.”