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Vanessa Bryant calls Kobe 'MVP of girl dads'

Written by 
Published in Breaking News
Monday, 24 February 2020 11:22

LOS ANGELES -- Vanessa Bryant gave mourners at the public memorial for Kobe Bryant and their daughter Gianna at Staples Center on Monday an intimate portrait of them both.

She said the world saw Kobe as a celebrity and basketball legend -- the Black Mamba -- but to her he was her best friend and protector. Vanessa described him as a loving husband and devoted father with a tender heart who was "the MVP of girl dads.''

He loved to watch romantic movies with them and put them to bed every night. Vanessa said she and Kobe planned to renew their vows and travel the world together. They talked about how they looked forward to becoming the "cool grandparents" after their kids have their own children.

She also fought back tears as she described Gianna as a sweet, thoughtful soul who loved always kissing her mother good morning and goodnight.

"Her smile was like sunshine," Vanessa said. "Her smile took up her entire face. Like me. Kobe always said she was like me. She had my fire, my personality and sarcasm. She was tender and loving on the inside. She had the best laugh. She had the best laugh. It was infectious. It was pure and genuine."

Vanessa said Gianna loved swimming, singing along with hit songs, baking cookies and watching "Survivor'' and NBA games with her father. She says the 13-year-old loved basketball so much she even offered the boys' school team advice.

Vanessa predicted that Gianna could have become "the best player in the WNBA.''

A host of NBA greats past and present were among the thousands in attendance at the public memorial -- including Jerry West, Phil Jackson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Pau Gasol and Steph Curry.

Late night host Jimmy Kimmel introduced Vanessa, who received a standing ovation from the crowd.

The memorial began with Beyonce singing her hits "XO'' and "Halo.''

Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others were killed last month in a helicopter crash in foggy weather while heading to a basketball tournament that Gianna was to play in.

ESPN's Dave McMenamin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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