Last Sunday, Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven other people died in a helicopter crash in Southern California. Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, with whom he shared three other daughters, Bianka (3), Natalia (17), and Capri (seven months), spoke out earlier this week about she and her family are doing following their loss.
On Friday, at the first Los Angeles Lakers game since Bryant and Gianna died, the players paid tribute by draping every seat with a No. 24 or No. 8 jersey, Bryant and Gianna’s numbers, respectively. Fans cheered “MVP,” and Usher sang “Amazing Grace” as he stood in front of two floral displays featuring the jerseys.
The other victims of the crash were Gianna’s basketball teammate Alyssa Altobelli and her parents Keri and John Altobelli; basketball assistant coach Christina Mauser; Gianna’s basketball teammate Payton Chester and her mother Sarah Chester; and the helicopter’s pilot, Ara Zobayan. On January 20, Vanessa shared her message of grief and sadness following the accident.
“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time,” she wrote. “Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon.”