The sports world celebrated what would have been Kobe Bryant’s 42nd birthday on Sunday with messages, photos and tributes. Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife, took to Instagram to share a sweet post dedicated to her late husband, as well as her 13-year-old daughter Gigi Bryant, who died alongside Kobe in a helicopter accident crash in January.

Vanessa wrote, “To my baby~ Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU! I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi.”

She listed out what she missed about the NBA legend saying, “I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh. I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are. I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way.”

Vanessa also expressed how life has been with her other three daughters, 17-year-old Natalia, 3-year-old Bianka, and 14-month-old Capri, in the absence of Kobe and Gigi.

“God I miss you both so much,” Vanessa wrote. “Our lives feel so empty without you and Gigi. I’ve been completely broken inside. As much as I want to cry, I put a smile on my face to make our daughters’ days shine a little brighter. I’m not the strong one, they are. They’re strong and resilient. I’m sure you’re proud of them.

“They put a smile on my face every day. I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare. I wish I could surprise our girls and welcome you and Gigi home to us. I’m mad I didn’t go first. I always wanted to go first so that I selfishly didn’t have to feel this heartache. You were supposed to miss me. Gigi was supposed to be here with her sisters. It should’ve been me.”

The heartfelt post concluded with Vanessa expressing what she is grateful for. 

“Thank you for loving me enough to last several lifetimes,” she wrote. “In every lifetime I would choose YOU. Thank you for showing me what real love is. Thank YOU for everything. I know my Gigi is celebrating you like she always has on our special days. I miss my thoughtful princess so much! Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri, and I wish you a happy birthday my love. I love you for now, forever and for always.”

Kobe continues to be honored in numerous ways, both in and out of the sports world. August 24 has been declared “Kobe Bryant Day” in Orange County, California and the Lakers have plans to wear “Black Mamba” jerseys for an upcoming playoff game.


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