Vanessa Bryant Highlights Kobe's Best Girl Dad Moments
The city of Los Angeles is showing so much love for Kobe Bryant's family.
On Monday, fans and friends of the late NBA star gathered together inside Staples Center to pay tribute to Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who both died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, last month. The arena couldn't have been a more perfect place to hold the "Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" service, as it's home to the Los Angeles Lakers, and where Kobe played the entirety of his professional 20-year basketball career.
Amid a performance from Beyoncé and an introduction from Jimmy Kimmel, Vanessa Bryant was spotted sitting alongside her sister, Sophie, and holding hands with her 17-year-old daughter, Natalia. Meanwhile, Natalia was seen holding her younger sister, 3-year-old Bianka, on her lap. The couple also shared Capri, 8 months. The group was seated opposite Kobe’s parents in the same row.
"Kobe was the MVP of Girl Dads -- or the MVD. He never left the toilet seat up. He always told the girls how beautiful and smart they are. He taught them how to be brave and how to keep pushing forward when things get tough," she said. "And when Kobe retired from the NBA, he took over picking up and dropping off the girls from school since I was at home pregnant with Bianka and just recently home nursing Capri."
"When Kobe was still playing, I used to show up an hour early to be the first in line to pick up Natalia and Gianna from school and I told him he couldn’t drop the ball once he took over. He was late one time and we most definitely let him know that I was never late," Vanessa continued. "So he showed up one hour and 20 minutes early after that. He always knew there was room for improvement and wanted to do better. He happily did carpool and enjoyed spending time in the car with our girls."
Vanessa went on to describe Kobe as "a doting father" who was "hands-on and present."
"He helped me bathe Bianka and Capri almost every night. He would sing them silly songs in the shower and continue making them laugh and smile as he lathered them in lotion and got them ready for bed," she recounted. "He had magic arms and could put Capri to sleep in only a matter of minutes. He said he had it down to a science -- eight times up and down our hallway. He loved taking Bianca to Fashion Island and watch her play in the koi pond area and he loved taking her to the park. Their most recent visit to the koi pond was the evening before he and Gigi passed."
"He shared a love of movies and a breakdown of films with Natalia," she continued. "He enjoyed renting out theaters and taking Natalia to watch the most recent Star Wars movie or Harry Potter films. And they would have movie marathons and he would enjoy every second of it. He loved your typical tear-jerkers too. He liked watching Stepmom, Steel Magnolias and Little Women. He had a tender heart."
Vanessa continued, noting, "He loved being Gianna’s basketball coach. He told me he wished he would have convinced Natalia to play basketball so that they could’ve spent even more time together, but he also wanted her to pursue her own passion."
"He watched Natalia play in a volleyball tournament on her birthday on January 19 and he noticed how she’s a very intelligent player. He was convinced she would’ve made a great point guard with her vision of the court," she continued. "And he told me that he wanted Bianka and Capri to take up basketball when they get older, so he could spend just as much time with them as he did with Gigi. And Kobe always told Bianka and Capri that they were going to grow up and play basketball and 'mix they a** up.'"
Monday's public memorial comes just over two weeks after Kobe and Gianna were laid to rest in a private funeral on Feb. 7 at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar, California. The funeral took place two weeks after they died in a helicopter crash alongside seven others.
"Vanessa and the family wanted a private service to mourn their loss," a source told ET at the time. "The ceremony was extremely hard for everyone as it's still hard for them to grasp they lost two beautiful souls."
Hear more in the video below.
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