Vanessa Bryant 'Touched' by Super Bowl Tribute to Kobe & Gianna: 'Every Memorial Means Something'

Before Sunday night's game, both teams stood on the 24-yard line and had a moment of silence for Kobe and Gianna Bryant

Vanessa Bryant has been “touched” by the many emotional remembrances of her husband Kobe Bryant and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna, but the tribute at Sunday night’s Super Bowl LIV was especially meaningful.

Before the big game started, the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers both stood on their respective 24-yard lines, paying tribute with a moment of silence. Kobe wore number 24 during most of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“She was aware of the Super Bowl tribute and she was touched,” a source close to the mother of four tells PEOPLE. “Every memorial means something to her. Every memorial is important.”

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Ronald Martinez/Getty

Since Kobe’s death, athletes from around the world have found their own ways to honor the champion athlete. NBA teams allowed the 24-second shot clock to run down to zero at the start of games, and players temporarily wore one of Kobe’s numbers while on the court.

At Friday night’s Laker Game at the Staples Center, Gianna’s and Kobe’s jerseys were placed on the courtside seats they used to occupy, adorned with red roses. The sentiment touched Vanessa deeply.

“There is no #24 without #2,” she wrote on Instagram, adding, “❤️#GirlDaddy #DaddysGirl #MyBabies ❤️❤️ #OurAngels”

Kobe Bryant
Courtside seats with Gianna’s and Kobe Bryant’s jerseys. Harry How/Getty Images

Vanessa, 37, is still reeling from the sudden deaths of Kobe and Gianna in a January 26 helicopter crash that claimed the lives of 9 people.

Vanessa spoke out for the first time last week, 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.

“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.”
Kobe and Vanessa Bryant with their daughters. Vanessa Bryant Instagram

A fund has been created for the families of the seven other victims — John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan. Donations are being accepted through the Mamba Sports Foundation called the MambaOnThree Fund.

The source tells PEOPLE that Vanessa Bryant is humbled by the outpouring of love for her husband and daughter.

“She appreciates every single effort that people have given to remember her husband and daughter,” says the insider. “Every flower, every prayer, every card, every tweet. It’s all very comforting to her.”

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.

Related Articles