Father’s Day 2021 marked the second Father’s Day Kobe Bryant‘s widow, Vanessa Bryant, spent without the legendary athlete and her 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Vanessa paid a touching tribute to the “best girl dad” she knew in honor of the special day.
The mother of four shared a family photo on her Instagram account featuring Kobe alongside his four daughters, Gianna Maria-Onore, who would’ve turned 15 on May 1, now 2-year-old Capri Kobe, 4-year-old Bianka Bella, and 18-year-old Natalia Diamante Bryant.The photo appeared to be taken from the former Los Angeles Lakers star’s birthday celebration in August 2019, two months after Capri “Koko Bean” was born.
The California native captioned the adorable snap, “To the best girl dad~ Happy Father’s Day, Papi.” She added, “We love you forever and always, always and forever. Love you always, Nani, Gigi, B.B, Koko and VB❤️.” Friends and fans flooded the post that garnered over 1,000,000 likes with heart emojis.
Vanessa spoke about her late husband’s special bond with his girls. Fans got to witness those moments, with the most recent one being right before his passing where he was seen courtside with Gigi as he explained the game to her. Gigi took after her father and was also a lover and active participant of the sport. During the ceremony for Kobe’s posthumous induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in May 2021, Vanessa elaborated on his relationship with his children. “His most cherished accomplishment was being the very best girl dad,” she said. “I want to thank him for somehow finding ways to dedicate time to not only being an incredible athlete, a visionary, entrepreneur, and storyteller but for also being an amazing family man.”
Around the time of the star’s death, SportsCenter anchor Elle Ducan recalled how the five-time champion took pride in the phrase “girl dad” and the responsibility. Ducan recalled her first time speaking with Kobe when she was eight months pregnant. When he asked her what she was having, she revealed that she was expecting a girl. The ballplayer lit up with excitement and said, “Girls are the best!” before giving the journalist a high five. He added, “Just be grateful that you’ve been given that gift because girls are amazing.”
At the time, Kobe’s fourth daughter had not been born yet. When asked if he and his wife would try for a boy, Kobe revealed that he would have five more girls if he could, cementing his stance as a “girl dad.”
As previously reported on Sunday, January 26, 2020, Kobe and Gianni, along with nine others, Payton Chester, 13, Sarah Chester, 46, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Keri Altobelli, 46, John Altobelli, 56, Christina Mauser, 38, and pilot Ara Zobayan, 50, were killed in Calabasas, California, after their helicopter crashed in a remote field. The group was on their way to a basketball tournament. Kobe was 41 years old.