The Lakers played the Portland Trail Blazers Friday night in the first game since the tragic helicopter crash that claimed nine lives

Vanessa Bryant is remembering her “angels,” husband Kobe Bryant and 13-year-old daughter Gianna, as the Lakers played their first game since the death of their legendary player in the tragic helicopter crash that took nine lives on Sunday.

Vanessa, 37, shared a special moment from the tribute at the Staples Center ahead of Friday’s game: a photo of Gianna’s and Kobe’s jerseys on the courtside seats they used to occupy, adorned with red roses.

“There is no #24 without #2,” Vanessa wrote in the caption, adding, “❤️#GirlDaddy #DaddysGirl #MyBabies ❤️❤️ #OurAngels”

Kobe Bryant
Courtside seats with Gianna’s and Kobe Bryant’s jerseys
| Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

On her Instagram Story shortly after the Lakers’ home game against the Portland Trail Blazers began, Vanessa also shared a photo of a beautiful purple and gold sunset, adding yellow and a purple heart emojis atop the shot.

Friday’s tribute included moving performances from Usher, cellist Ben Hong of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and a straight-from-the-heart speech by LeBron James.

Vanessa spoke out for the first time since the helicopter crash on Wednesday, telling fans in an emotional Instagram post that she is “devastated” over the loss of her “adoring” husband, 41, and their “beautiful, sweet” daughter Gianna.

“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers,” Vanessa wrote.

Vanessa Bryant
Vanessa Bryant’s Instagram Story
| Credit: Vanessa Bryant/Instagram

“We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri,” she said.

Vanessa shared that she is also “devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now.”

“I take 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.”
Bryant family
| Credit: Vanessa Bryant Instagram

“I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way,” she wrote.

“Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever.”

“Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality,” Vanessa continued.

Vanessa also revealed that a fund for the families of the seven other victims — John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan — had been set up through the Mamba Sports Foundation called the MambaOnThree Fund.

Vanessa and Kobe tied the knot in April 2001, when he was 22 and she was 18. During their nearly 19-year marriage, the couple welcomed four daughters: Gianna, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and 7-month-old Capri.

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