Vanessa Bryant courageosly took to the stage at center court in Los Angeles on Monday morning to pay tearful triibute to her late husband, Kobe, and her late daughter, Gianna.
There wasn’t a dry eye left in Staples Center when Vanessa was done, either.
Or on the Internet for that matter.
“Thank you all so much for being here, it means so much to us,” the 37-year old said to open her speech at after an introduction from Jimmy Kimmel, adding:
“I’d like to thank everyone for coming today. The outpouring of love and support that my family has felt from around the world has been so uplifting.”
Vanessa, tragically, lost both Kobe and Gianna in a helicopter crash on January 26.
Just under a month later, thousands of people paid respects to the victims of this fatal accident in what was billed as a Celebration of Life in the aforementioned downtown arena.
Kimmel emceed to event, while Beyonce opened it with a couple numbers and stars such as Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal gave speeches.
But none more impactful than what Vanessa said about her husband and child.
Vanessa started by honoring Gianna, who was 13 when she was killed in the helicopter crash alongside her dad last month.
“My baby girl,” she said, taking a moment to compose herself. “Gianna Bryant is an amazingly sweet and gentle soul. She was always thoughtful.”
She added of her second-oldest child:
“She was daddy’s girl but I know she loved her mamma. She was one of my very best friends.”
Vanessa noted that the budding athlete “was very competitive like her daddy,” but that “Kobe always said she was me — she had my fire, my personality and sarcasm, but she was tender and loving on the inside.”
Added the grieving mother:
"She had the best laugh. It was infectious, it was pure and genuine. Kobe and Gianna naturally gravitated toward each other."
Vanessa went on to break every heart in the room, detailing all she won’t be able to experience now with Gianna:
“We will not be able to see Gianna go to highschool with Natalia … we didn’t get the chance to teach her how to drive a car.
"I won’t be able to tell her how gorgeous she looks on her wedding day. I’ll never get to see my baby girl walk down the aisle, have a father-daughter dance with her daddy … or have babies of her own.”
“I miss you, all of you, every day.”
Vanessa then fought back tears while addressing her "soulmate," beginning as follows:
"He was the most amazing husband. Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words.
"I have no idea how I deserved a man who loved or wanted me more than Kobe."
Vanessa and Kobe got married in 2001.
“We loved each other with our whole beings, two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls,” she continued here, prior to talking about Kobe as a dad:
"Kobe was the MVP of girl dads, or MVD. He never left the toilet seat up. He always told the girls how beautiful and smart they are. He taught them how to be brave."
Kobe has a "tender heart," Vanessa said, adding:
"I want my daughters to know the amazing person, husband and father he was.
"The kind of man who wanted to teach the future generations to be better … he taught us all valuable lessons about life and sports … we’re so thankful he left those lessons and stories behind for us.”
Concluding her emotional speech, Vanessa said of her husband and daughter:
“They were so easy to love. Everyone naturally gravitated toward them. They were funny, happy, silly and they loved life. They were so full of joy and adventure.”
Then, she said this, and all observers simply lost it:
God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together. Babe, you take care of our Gigi. … we’re still the best team.
Kobe and Gianna were two of nine people on board the helicopter that crashed late last month.
There were no survivorsOn Valentine’s Day, Vanessa paid tribute to her husband Kobe in honor of his “favorite holiday," writing on Instagram:
To my forever Valentine, I love you so much. Missing you so much on your favorite holiday. Te amo per sempre. Kisses to you and Gigi in heaven. Happy Valentine’s Day, my babies.
With all my love, your boo-boo.