Vanessa Bryant narrated a touching birthday tribute for her daughter Gianna.
“From the first time you imagined winning a WNBA Championship, I knew one thing was real. You were special,” Vanessa says in the video. “You came from greatness, but it was never about what you inherited. It was about what you gave to others. When someone stands up for gender equality, I see you fighting alongside of them.”
Nike is also releasing a unique pair of “Kobe 6 Protro Mambacita Sweet 16” shoes in honor of her birthday. The shoe features a black snakeskin pattern. The company says that proceeds from the shoes will go towards the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. The organization is a nonprofit aimed at supporting underserved athletes.
“The ‘Mambacita Sweet 16’ is inspired by her resilient spirit and the love she had, not only for the game, but for her family, friends and community,” Vanessa wrote on Instagram. “Part of her legacy is about building a better future for all girls and women in sport, one step at a time.”
Gianna was killed on January 26, 2020, along with her father, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, and several others during a helicopter crash.
Gianna’s older sister, Natalia, also posted her own tribute on Instagram.
“Happy sweet sixteen my dearest gigi,” she wrote. “I love you to the moon and back forever & always.”
Vanessa commented: “The BEST. Love you babies! Love you to the [moon emoji] and back, infinity plus 1.”
Check out the Bryant family’s tributes for Gianna below.
It was never about what she got from basketball. It was always about what she gave back. Gigi gave inspiration to her teammates, her mentors, and the next generation. #PlayGigisWay #mambamambacitasports pic.twitter.com/u7R3EnknqP
— Nike (@Nike) May 1, 2022