/  08.23.2020

Vanessa Bryant is celebrating what would have been her late husband Kobe Bryant’s 42nd birthday today, Aug. 23. 

“To my baby~ Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain,” she captioned on an Instagram post dedicated to him. “I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU! I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi.” 

Gianna, or Gigi as her family affectionately calls hers, and Kobe both died in the Jan. 26 helicopter crash in Calabasas, California that also took the lives of several others.

“I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare,” she continued. “I wish I could surprise our girls and welcome you and Gigi home to us. 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.”

Kobe and Vanessa were married for 20 years. They shared four daughters, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, 14-month-old Capri and 13-year-old Gianna.

Natalia also took to Instagram to remember her father’s special day with some heartwarming words of her own. 

“Happy Birthday Dad I miss your smile, laugh and big bear hugs,” she captioned on the post. “Happy Birthday to the best movie buddy I could have ever asked for. I will always remember our late night drives to the movie theater with the windows rolled down and listening to our favorite songs. I love you forever and always. Always, Slim.”

Monday, Aug. 24, also known as “Mamba Day,” will officially take place as “Kobe Bryant Day” in Orange County and Los Angeles in honor of the basketball legend. The day represents the two jersey numbers he wore as a Los Angeles Laker, 8 and 24, during his iconic 20-year career.


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