Photo by: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images
The mother-daughter pair paid tribute to the late basketball prodigy with separate Instagram posts to commemorate the occasion.
“Dear Gianna, from the first time you imagined winning a WNBA championship, I knew one thing was real — you were special,” Vanessa shared in an animated Instagram video. “You came from greatness, but it was never about what you inherited. It was about what you gave to others.”
Vanessa paid tribute to her late daughter with a movie she narrated in the style of her late husband Kobe Bryant’s award-winning animated short Dear Basketball, which featured cartoon caricatures of her late daughter and her love for the sport her family cherished.
The 39-year-old mother continued.
“When someone stands up for gender equality, I see you standing up alongside them. And every time someone plays her hardest, I know that’s you on the court. Love you always, basketball.”
Concluding her heartfelt message to her late daughter, Vanessa wrote, “Love you always! Happy Birthday, Gianna. 😘❤️🥰 #Mambacita #2 ❤️❤️” as her Instagram caption.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Natalia uploaded a childhood snapshot of herself kissing Gigi on the cheek while her sister grinned from ear to ear.
“Happy sweet sixteen my dearest gigi♥️,” Natalia wrote. “I love you to the moon and back 🌙,” the eldest sibling wrote.
The elder sibling captioned the sweet photo by saying she will love her sister “forever & always.”
Gigi and her father Kobe were killed in a helicopter crash in California more than two years ago. Gigi was only four months away from turning fourteen at the time.
Vanessa and Nike had renewed their alliance a month before in honor of Kobe and Gigi.
Vanessa noted that she was “very thrilled that my husband’s sneakers are still the most worn by players on NBA courts and that his shoes are still in such high demand by his admirers worldwide.”
Happy heavenly birthday, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant!