"Dad, you're an icon, a legend, the storyteller, and most importantly, the best girl dad any young woman could ever dream of," Kobe's daughter said.
Vanessa Bryant, along with her children, paid tribute to her late husband Kobe Bryant on March 15 with an emotional ceremony presenting his handprints inside Hollywood's famed Chinese Theatre. Natalia, Kobe, and Vanessa's eldest daughter made a touching statement during the ceremony, which was attended by Vanessa, 40, and her younger sisters Bianka, 6, and Capri, 3. Los Angeles Lakers CEO Jeanie Buss and former NBA player Byron Scott, who played on the NBA club alongside Kobe, were also in attendance at the event, per PEOPLE.
Mamba Forever ♾️— ESPN Los Angeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) March 15, 2023
Kobe Bryant’s handprints and footprints are now on permanent display at @ChineseTheatres. He was the first athlete to get his prints famously cemented in 2011 (📸: @official_bscott) #LakeShow pic.twitter.com/VyZIOfv0mD
Kobe was the first player to have his hands and feet etched in cement at the renowned TCL Chinese Theatre in 2011. To honor his memory, the theatre permanently placed his handprints and footprints in the famed venue's forecourt. Natalia opened her statement by referring to her father as the "MVP of girl fathers," describing his tremendous work ethic as a basketball player and how, despite his hectic schedule, the Laker great always found time for his four daughters. "I'm honored to be here today to recognize the man that we all knew and love my dad, Kobe Bryant," she said. "Being his daughter is one of the greatest joys of my life, and I hope to continue to embody and cherish the many lessons he has taught me,” she added.
Recognizing the monumental decision to place Kobe's prints in front of the Chinese Theater she said, “This day symbolizes the impact that he has had on a city that he loved and cared for so deeply. I encourage you to place your hands in his and take a moment to stand in his shoes. This will be a treasure for the city of Los Angeles and my dad's fans from all over the world to hold and to cherish." Remembering her dad and paying tribute to sister Gianna who died with Kobe in the chopper crash she concluded by saying that they will love Kobe "forever and always."
"Dad, you're an icon, a legend, the storyteller, and most importantly, the best girl dad any young woman could ever dream of. I'm honored to be here to represent you and our family, and we are extremely proud of you. We will love you forever and always. Love, Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri, and Mommy," she said as she ended her speech.
Vanessa came to the Lakers' arena earlier this month for the first time since February 24, 2020, the day of Kobe and Gianna Bryant's funeral service, when she attended Pau Gasol's jersey retirement ceremony. That day, she delivered a painful farewell to her husband and their 13-year-old daughter.
"God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together. Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nani, B.B. and Koko. We're still the best team. May you both rest in peace and have fun in Heaven until we meet again one day. We love you both and miss you. Forever and always, Mommy," Vanessa said addressing her late husband.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | (L) JC Olivera; (R) Lisa Blumenfeld