Always on her mind. Vanessa Bryant paid tribute to her late husband, Kobe Bryant, on what would have been his 43rd birthday.
On Monday, which would’ve been the NBA icon’s 43rd birthday, the mother of four, 39, shared an emotional tribute on social media. “Happy birthday, Papi. Te Amo por siempre. Amor Eterno,” Vanessa wrote, calling Kobe her “eternal love.”
The couple was married for two decades after first meeting on the set of a music video in 1999 when Kobe was 20 and Vanessa was 17.
“Happy Birthday Daddy,” their eldest daughter Natalia, 18, captioned a 2004 photo of herself and her late father on Instagram.
The night prior, on Sunday, Vanessa and her daughters, Natalia, Bianka and Capri, went to Disneyland and Disneyland’s California Adventure park as a family. “Always with me,” the matriarch wrote on Instagram, along with showing off bracelets that spell out the names of her daughters, including her late daughter Gianna, and Kobe.
On Jan. 26, 2020, Kobe, Gianna, 13, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. The crash also claimed the lives of 13-year-old Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, 46, 14-year-old Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, 46, John Altobelli, 56, Christina Mauser, 38, and pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.
Also on Monday, Kobe’s sister, Sharia Washington, shared photos from his childhood in honor of his birthday.
“8.23.2021 I should be texting you funny memes about getting old and gray and laughing at your smartass comebacks. Just one of your many talents ? We celebrate you today and everyday as you continue to inspire so many people all around the world. Happy birthday Bean! Thank you for always keeping real! Love you always!” Washington wrote on Instagram, along with an old commercial of the sibling pair playing basketball.
Last year, Aug. 24 was named “Kobe Bryant Day,” a date that features the two jersey numbers (8 and 24) that the late NBA legend wore during his 20-year career.
Happy heavenly birthday Kobe.