On the day her daughter would’ve graduated the eighth grade, Vanessa Bryant celebrated Gigi’s graduation after Kobe’s death. Vanessa took to her Instagram on Friday, June 5, to honor her late daughter, who died at the age of 13 in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, along with her father. Per Vanessa’s Instagram, Gigi, whose full name is Gianna Marie-Onore Bryant, would’ve graduated the eighth grade on Friday at Harbor Day private school in California.
“Congratulations on your 8th grade graduation Gigi. I love you forever and always. I’m so proud of you,” Vanessa captioned her Instagram post, which included a photo of a graduation lei and Gigi’s diploma. The teen would’ve started her freshman year of high school in the fall.
Harbor Day School also honored Gigi in an Instagram post, which showed a picture of her basketball jersey, in a collage of the class of 2020. “Our beloved Class of 2020! 💙💛🌹,” the caption read.
Gigi and her father, Kobe Bryant, passed away on January 26, 2020 in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, that killed seven others. After her death, Gigi was honored by the WNBA, alongside other basketball players Alyssa Altobelli and Peyton Chester.
“Kobe was not only a legendary basketball star, but a devoted youth coach and had a tremendous impact on countless young players. I met Kobe last fall and after he left our office I remember thinking that his passion for the WNBA and girls basketball was unparalleled from anyone else I had ever met,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a speech in April. “Alongside Kobe, eight others were lost that sad day in January, including three rising basketball stars. Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant and Peyton Chester. These athletes represented the future of the WNBA.”
At the celebration, Vanessa talked about how her daughter wanted to be a legendary athlete like her father. “She wanted to be one of the greatest athletes of all time just like her daddy,” Vanessa said. “I’m so proud of you, Gigi. God I miss you baby. You deserved to live a long, healthy and happy life,” She later added on her Instagram. “I wish I could hold you and tell you how proud I am of you. You’re the best, baby girl. Mommy loves and misses you more than I could ever express.”