A year after he and his teenage daughter, Gianna, were killed in a helicopter crash, the world has taken a collective walk down memory lane to remember the life of the late legendary NBA star Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant was a legendary man who dominated basketball in more ways than one. Besides being Mamba on the basketball court, the late legend was also a proud, loving father to his wife, Vanessa, and his four daughters.
January 26 marked the first anniversary of when the basketball icon and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were killed in a helicopter accident alongside seven others. In honor of the famously loved girl dad, here is a look inside Kobe's life as a dad and husband.
Vanessa and Kobe Bryant and their children at the premiere of "A Wrinkle In Time" on February 26, 2018. | Photo: Getty Images
Kobe first met his wife, Vanessa, in 1999 during a music video shoot. Vanessa was still in high school at the time, and the athlete was only 20 years old.
When Vanessa turned 18, the love birds got engaged and later tied the knot in April 2001. In April 2013, Kobe took to Instagram to pay tribute to their long-lasting love. He shared a throwback photo from the days they met and wrote:
"This pic is the day I asked @ladyvb24 for her number 11/28/99. Thru [sic] the ups and downs she has been my love and best friend."
The late legend marveled at how far they had come together and wrote that it was a real honor and blessing to have grown up together. Of course, the fairy tale was not without difficulties.
Seeing as they were both very young, Kobe's parents were not in support of their marriage and refused to attend their wedding. He remained estranged from his parents for many years.
In 2003, infidelity threatened at their doorstep when Kobe faced a criminal case against him. A 19-year-old woman accused him of sexually assaulting her at a Colorado hotel.
Throughout this legal tussle, Vanessa stood by her husband. The scandal quickly became highly publicized, and the late NBA star admitted that he had been unfaithful to Vanessa but denied assaulting the woman.
According to him, their relations were consensual, and the woman eventually declined to continue the case, leading to it being dropped.
After the notorious scandal, Kobe publicly apologized to his wife at a press conference held at the Los Angeles Staples Center. He also infamously gave her an eight-carat purple diamond ring worth about $4 million.
Regardless of the issues they faced as a married couple, Kobe and Vanessa stood with each other through them all. Amid the heat of the assault and infidelity scandal, they welcomed their first child together.
Natalia was born on January 19, 2003, and parenthood transformed the husband and wife. They would have three more girls – Gianna, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 1.
Kobe's girls and his wife were his life. The man was a proud father who never hesitated to flaunt his kids and always supported their interests, basketball, ballet, or volleyball. The late star had plenty of wisdom to share about parenthood.
He once emphasized the importance of setting the best example for one's children as a parent. He also openly expressed his gratitude for being a girl dad and admitted that he would proudly welcome many more girls.
Gianna, who was fondly referred to as GiGi, was an avid lover of basketball like a father was. The man was admirably proud of his daughter and always admired her skill and talent. He often praised her for her confidence.
Kobe and Gianna tragically passed away in that fateful helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. According to the released autopsy result, they and the seven others in the helicopter reportedly died of blunt trauma. The manner of death was also accidental.
Months after his tragic passing, his book "Geese Are Never Swans" showed his devotion to mental health care among athletes and tried to share awareness about it.
Kobe was indeed a beacon of light and greatness, and now, as the world remembers him for all that he was, his family continues to forge on with strength.