Vanessa Bryant spoke at Kobe and Gianna Bryant's memorial on Monday morning. When she took the stage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles -- where 20,000 family, friends, and fans gathered for the celebration of life -- the NBA legend's widow thanked everyone for attending. She described the "outpouring of love" she felt from everyone in the wake of the helicopter crash that took Kobe and Gianna's lives -- along with those of seven others -- on January 26.
Vanessa Remembered Gianna As Being 'Full Of Life'As she spoke, the grieving mother and wife struggled to hold back the tears. She talked about Gianna first, explaining that the 13-year-old, nicknamed Gigi, who was so full of life and always kissed her goodnight. Vanessa said that Gigi made the best chocolate chip cookies and she loved to watch Cupcake Wars. She then described the last birthday cake that the young girl made for her father, and she noted that the homemade pastry looked like a professionally decorated cake.
"Her smile took up her entire face. Like mine," the mother-of-four noted. "She had the best laugh... It was infectious. It was pure and genuine."
Vanessa remembered all the things she loved about Gigi and all the things she misses about her second-born child.
"Gigi was sunshine. She brightened up my day every day."Vanessa explained that Gianna got into the same high school as her older sister, Natalia, adding that it gave her comfort to know that Gigi knew she was accepted into the institution before her untimely death. She also talked about all the things she wouldn't get to see her second daughter do, including going to high school, learning to drive, or becoming a mom.
The grieving mother said the 13-year-old would've made a wonderful mom because she was so maternal, and Gianna often helped her with her younger sisters Bianka and Capri. Vanessa also predicted that had Gigi lived, she would've become one of the best players in the WNBA. The audience reacted to this comment with applause.
"I will miss your sweet handmade cards, your sweet kisses, and your gorgeous smile. I miss you, all of you, every day. I love you."
Vanessa Said Gigi Made A Difference In Her 13 Short YearsVanessa painted a picture of Gianna as a person who made a difference during her short life -- both to their family and to those she came in contact with each day. As she explained, Gigi ensured that her family members were okay and also enjoyed their family game night and vacation traditions. She noted that her late daughter was a nice person who loved people and showed them that no act of kindness was too small to change a person's life. The mother described a teenager who always did the right thing and had so much more to give the world.
"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," Vanessa entreated her late husband.
After she remembered Gianna and Kobe, Vanessa was helped down from the stage by a tearful Michael Jordan. She went back to her seat next to her oldest daughter, Natalia.