The former NBA pro, 41, and Gianna, then 13, were among nine people who died in a helicopter accident in Calabasas, California, in January 2020. Vanessa Bryant, who married Kobe in 2001, also shared daughters Natalia, 18, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 19 months, with the late athlete. On what would have been his 42nd birthday, the California native, 38, reflected on the grief she’s felt since losing her loved ones.
“I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare. I wish I could surprise our girls and welcome you and Gigi home to us,” she wrote in August 2020. “I’m mad I didn’t go first. I always wanted to go first so that I selfishly didn’t have to feel this heartache. You were supposed to miss me. Gigi was supposed to be here with her sisters. It should’ve been me.”
When news of Kobe and Gianna’s deaths made headlines last year, tributes came flooding in. The crash occurred on the same day that the 62nd annual Grammy Awards took place at the Staples Center, where the Olympic gold medalist once played with the Los Angeles Lakers. At the time, host Alicia Keys dedicated the show to Kobe’s memory as fans gathered around the arena to honor the basketball legend.
“To be honest with you, we’re all feeling crazy sadness right now because earlier today, Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero. We’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built,” Keys shared hours after the heartbreaking news broke. “Right now, Kobe and his daughter Gianna and all of those who have been tragically lost today are in our hearts.”
Reflecting on the massive loss one year later, stars are still finding ways to honor Kobe’s legacy. Jordan, 33, shared a photo of the Philadelphia native and Gianna on Instagram and noted that he’s had a greater “appreciation of family” in the months since the tragedy.
“Sending love & healing energy to the Bryant family. Rest in Power. You’ll never be forgotten. #mamba #mambacita,” the Just Mercy star wrote.
Johnson, a fellow Laker, also honored the other passengers — John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester and [pilot] Ara Zobayan — whose families are feeling their absence even more on the anniversary of the crash.
“Kobe will always be my @Lakers brother for life,” he tweeted on Tuesday.
Scroll down to see how other stars paid tribute to the Bryant family.