Family And Friends Pay Tribute To Kobe And Gianna’s Deaths One Year On

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Family and Friends Pay Tribute To Kobe And Gianna's Deaths One Year Onkobebryant/Instagram/vanessabryant/Instagram

Family members and friends have paid tribute to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna one year after their tragic deaths.

One year ago today, January 26, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and Gianna – known to loved ones as ‘Gigi’ – died along with seven others after the helicopter they had been travelling in crashed into a hill just north of Los Angeles.


They had been travelling to a tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy, where Kobe had been scheduled to coach Gianna’s team. Gianna had been just 13 years old at the time of her death, and had been a promising basketball player in her own right.

kobe and gianna bryantPA Images

Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife and Gianna’s mother, has today shared a touching letter sent to her by Gianna’s close friend, Aubrey Callaghan. In the letter, Aubrey told Vanessa that she felt ‘so so blessed’ to have had time with ‘your angel of a daughter’, thanking her for giving her that chance.

Although Aubrey admitted she sometimes gets ‘into a pit of despair’ when thinking about what Gianna could have accomplished had she been given more time, she reflected that she had recently ‘been thinking of the mark she did leave on this Earth’.


Aubrey spoke movingly of Gianna’s ‘fight for equality in sports’, remarking that she and Kobe had ‘set the wheels in motion’ in this area.

She continued:

But on a lower level, on behalf of every person who came across her, I can say that she changed our lives. Her simple actions made all of us a better person, and I believe the results of this will never stop appearing.


Aubrey also spoke about her own personal memories of Gianna, remembering her friend as having been ‘kind, caring and endlessly polite’:

My mind constantly thinks of your beautiful daughter. Her smile and attitude push me to be better. You have probably heard this, but if I ever become a mom, I hope my daughter turns out exactly as yours did.

She continued:


Her love of life is something I will admire endlessly. She attacked each day as though it was hers to conquer. She would smile and bring the rest of us up with her.

Aubrey recalled how Gianna had boosted her confidence to the extent that she was able to play basketball alongside her for four years, and that she ‘knew when I was having a bad day, and knew just how to make it better’.

Kobe Bryant and GiannaPA Images

Sharing a screengrab of the beautifully-written letter with her Instagram followers, Vanessa expressed gratitude towards Aubrey for sharing her memories.


Vanessa wrote:

My Gigi is INCREDIBLE and I truly appreciate your thoughtful letter. She loves you so much. I miss my baby girl and Kob-Kob so much, too.

I will never understand why/how this tragedy could’ve happened to such beautiful, kind and amazing human beings. It still doesn’t seem real. Kob, we did it right. Gigi, you still make mommy proud. I love you!

kobe and gianna bryantPA Images

As reported by Sky Sports, fellow Lakers legend LeBron James has also reflected on Kobe’s legacy on the one-year anniversary of his death, stating:

Man, there’s a saying that says time heals all. As devastating and as tragic as it was and still is to all of us involved with it… it takes time. Everyone has their own grieving process.

Everyone understands. Everyone individually is different and everyone is going to grieve differently and how long it takes them to come to grips with it, that’s up to them and that individual.

You know, all you can do as a friend or a loved one or anyone in our brotherhood and our family that we have here with the organisation, is to put an arm around someone when they need it.

PA Images

LeBron went on to remark that the team still keeps Kobe’s memory alive in subtle ways, for example, wearing shoes that bear tribute to him:

I’m able to wear the ‘two-four’ on my finger every night. And then when we play at Staples Center, you see that two-four in the rafters and be able to just live his legacy.

So there’s a lot of things that die in this world, but legends never die. And he’s exactly that. So it’s all about representing that.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Kobe and Gianna Bryant at this difficult time.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.

Topics: News, basketball, Celebrity, Gianna Bryant, Kobe Bryant, lebron james, Now, Vanessa Bryant


Vanessa Bryant/Instagram and 1 other
  1. Vanessa Bryant/Instagram


  2. Sky Sports

    LeBron James pays tribute to Kobe Bryant with one-year anniversary of his death on Tuesday

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