Kobe Bryant’s family is remembering him on what would have been his 42nd birthday. The NBA star and his daughter Gianna, along with seven others, were killed January 26 in a helicopter crash.
In a moving Instagram post dedicated to the Lakers legend, his daughter Natalia wrote, “I love you forever and always.”
“Happy Birthday to the best movie buddy I could have ever asked for. I will always remember our late night drives to the movie theater with the windows rolled down and listening to our favorite songs,” she wrote.
The Instagram post shows a photo of Bryant holding Natalia as a baby with her face painted.
In a private Instagram post, Vanessa Bryant shared an emotional tribute to her late husband.
“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. I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh,” Vanessa Bryant wrote, reminiscing about her daughter, who was just 13 when she died, as well.
“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 Bryant continued. “Thank you for showing me what real love is. Thank YOU for everything.”
Bryant’s sister, Sharia Washington, also paid tribute to him. “There are no words to describe how I’m feeling today,” she wrote on Instagram.
Washington shared a photo of her younger brother when he was a kid and praised him for being “the one who listened without judgement and loved me unconditionally.”
“There are no words to express how much I miss you,” she added.
Legends from across the sports world also honored Bryant, including Alex Rodriguez and LeBron James. Nike announced that August 23-29 would be “Mamba Week” and interviewed athletes like Anthony Davis and Naomi Osaka about how Bryant inspired them.
The Lakers will also be wearing their “Black Mamba” uniforms on Monday as they face off against the Trail Blazers in the NBA playoffs