Last January, the former Los Angeles Lakers star died along with her daughter Gianna and seven others in a tragic helicopter crash. His passing reverberated around the world and this weekend’s celebrations served as a reminder of how much he meant not only to basketball, but to the entire sports community.
At the induction ceremony, Bryant was introduced by Michael Jordan and his wife, Vanessa, delivered a speech in his place.
Vanessa joked about praising Kobe in public:
“I always avoided congratulating my husband in public because I felt like he was getting enough praise from his fans all over the world, and someone needed to bring him back to reality. Right now I’m sure he’s laughing in heaven because I’m about to congratulate him in public for his accomplishments on one of the most public stages. I can see him now with his arms crossed, with a huge smile saying, “Isn’t that an s…”. ”
Vanessa also thanked Kobe skeptics for motivating her:
“I know he would thank everyone who helped him get here, including those who doubted him, and those who worked against him and told him he couldn’t achieve his goals. He would thank them all for motivating him to do so. be here. After all, he proved you wrong. ”
Vanessa explained why Kobe played on injury:
“People don’t know it, but my husband suffered injuries and pain because he remembered being a little kid, sitting nosebleed with his dad watching his favorite player play. He remembered the drive, the combos, and the excitement of being lucky enough to get a spot in the arena. Kobe didn’t want to disappoint his fans, especially those in the 300 sections who had saved up to watch him play, the kids with the same excitement he once had.
I remember asking him why he couldn’t just skip a game because he was in pain. He said, “What about the fans who saved up to watch me play once?” He never forgot his fans. If he could help him, he would play every minute of every game. He loved you all so much. ”
Vanessa is closed with a message to Kobe:
Thank you for being the best husband and father you can be. Thank you for growing up and learning from your own mistakes. Thank you for always trying to be better. Thank you for never giving up on us. Thanks for all your hard work. Thank you for our family. Thank you for our daughters, Natalia, Gianna, Bianka and Capri. Thank you for working so tirelessly to support us and give us the most amazing life together. Thank you for waking up at 4am to practice, coming home to kiss me, and dropping our girls off at school. Only to go practice, come home and pick up our girls from school whenever you can. Please never miss a birthday, dance recital, school awards show, show and story, or any other game our girls played if your schedule allowed. Thank you for prioritizing your love for our family.
Thank you for bringing so much joy to our lives and joy to people all over the world. Thank you for inspiring us to be better than we were the day before. Thank you for teaching me and all of us to put the joy of others before our own. Thank you for being so selfless and loving with a heart of gold. Thank you for never taking yourself too seriously. Thanks for your sense of humor. Thanks for your mind. Please never say no to me, and always let me do what I want… most of the time. Thank you for being patient and easy going. Thank you for letting me burst your bubble whenever I get the chance. Thank you for graciously accepting all of my harsh feedback. Thanks for sending them back. Thank you for being my Minnie’s Mickey, my Allie’s Noah. Thank you for loving me enough to last lifetimes. In every life I choose you.
To our daughters, Natalia and Gianna, thank you for sacrificing so much time away from Dad so he could focus on being the best at whatever he set out to do. Bianka and Capri, I’m so glad you’re here to see this tonight. Dad was amazing. He loves you girls so much.
Congratulations, baby. All of your hard work and sacrifices have paid off. You once said to me: “if you bet on someone, bet on yourself”. I’m glad you bet on yourself you are outperforming. You did it. You are now in the Hall of Fame. You are a true champion. You’re not just an MVP, you’re an all-time greats. I’m so proud of you. I love you forever and ever, Kobe “Bean” Bryant. ”