Basketball fans across the globe were reeling with excitement as Lakers great Kobe Bryant was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on the evening of May 15.
Vanessa Bryant accepted the honor on his behalf.
On May 17, while posting photos from the weekend’s events, Vanessa revealed Natalia was missing from the ceremony because it was her senior prom. Vanessa said there was no way she would let her daughter miss out on the “once in a lifetime opportunity.”
“When I was a senior in high school, Kobe and I were engaged and he had a playoff game the night of my prom. Kobe didn’t want me going to prom without him and I didn’t want to go without him,” wrote the mother of five.
She and Natalia shared a laugh that it was “only right that he [Kobe] 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.”
Vanessa previously posted numerous photos from the May 14 Tip-off Ceremony, which she was accompanied by her and Bryant’s eldest daughter, Natalia. The high school senior accepted her father’s Haggar Naismith jacket, as well as posed in his place alongside the other nine inductees, including 15-time NBA All-Stars Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.
Bryant, his daughter Gianna “Gigi” and seven others, died in a January 2020 helicopter accident. During her acceptance speech, Vanessa shared that a week before the tragedy she and Bryant were discussing his induction into the Hall of Fame.
“He didn’t really talk about upcoming awards, but he did mention this one a week before he and Gigi passed,” she said. With Bryant’s childhood idol Michael Jordan by her side, Vanessa paid homage to the basketball icon she knew as a husband and girl dad.
Throughout his twenty-year career, Brant was named NBA All-Star 18 times and won five NBA championships.
“I’m glad you bet on yourself, you overachiever. You did it. You’re in the Hall of Fame now. You’re a true champ. You’re not just an MVP, you’re an all-time great. I’m so proud of you.”