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Vanessa Bryant posts heartfelt message to Gigi Bryant for 8th grade graduation

Vanessa Bryant, Gigi Bryant

It’s a poignant week for Vanessa Bryant, the widow of Kobe Bryant. This week should have seen Gigi Bryant, Kobe’s late 13-year-old daughter, graduate from eighth grade and start her high school career. The tragic helicopter crash in late January prevented that. It ended the lives of her basketball teammates and nine people in total, including Kobe.

Vanessa Bryant shared a photo on Instagram on Friday afternoon commemorating what should have been a celebration for the departed Gianna (“Gigi”).

“Congratulations on your 8th grade graduation Gigi,” Vanessa Bryant wrote in the caption. “I love you forever and always. I’m so proud of you.”

Gianna and teammates, along with their family members and the “Mamba,” were en route to her basketball game when they lost their lives—an irreparable moment for Vanessa Bryant along with the sports community.

The WNBA recently honored Gianna and deceased teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester at their 2020 draft in April by “drafting” the three young basketball pupils. Vanessa Bryant knows that Gigi Bryant had wanted to pursue her own basketball career. She and her father were fervent supporters of the women’s professional league.

The Bryants’ lives were celebrated earlier this year in a grief-filled memorial ceremony held at the Staples Center, with Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan speaking about Kobe’s life and impact on and off the court.

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