“God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together.”

By Isabel Jones
Updated Feb 24, 2020 @ 3:45 pm
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During the Staples Center’s "A Celebration of Life" — a tribute to Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna — grieving wife and mother Vanessa Bryant tearfully eulogized the late father and daughter.

Bryant began her speech by sharing memories of her daughter. “Gianna Bryant is an amazingly sweet and gentle soul. She was always thoughtful. She was daddy’s girl but I know she loved her mamma. She was one of my very best friends,” Vanessa said. “Kobe always said she was me — she had my fire, my personality and sarcasm, but she was tender and loving on the inside.”

“We will not be able to see Gianna go to high school with [her big sister] Natalia,” Bryant continued. “We didn’t get the chance to teach her how to drive a car. I won’t be able to tell her how gorgeous she looks on her wedding day. I’ll never get to see my baby girl walk down the aisle, have a father-daughter dance with her daddy … or have babies of her own.”

“I miss you, all of you, every day,” Bryant concluded.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Moving on to her “soulmate,” Kobe, Vanessa said, “I couldn't see him as a celebrity, nor just an incredible basketball player. He was my sweet husband, and the beautiful father of our children. I have no idea how I deserved a man who loved or wanted me more than Kobe.”

She shared an anecdote about how Kobe had bought the physical notebook and Allie’s blue dress from The Notebook for her. “We had hoped to grow old together like the movie,” she said.

“We loved each other with our whole beings, two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls.”

“Kobe was the MVP of girl dads, or 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.”

“They were so easy to love,” Bryant said of her husband and daughter. “Everyone naturally gravitated toward them. They were funny, happy, silly and they loved life. They were so full of joy and adventure.”

“God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together.”

Vanessa and Kobe wed in 2001. During her speech, Vanessa said she was Kobe’s first girlfriend — they met when she was 17.

Days after Kobe and Gianna’s tragic helicopter crash on Jan. 26, Vanessa broke her silence on Instagram, sending her gratitude to the “millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time.”