The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat at the 2020 NBA Finals to win their 17th title in franchise history and their first trophy since the late Kobe Bryant led their team to victory over the Boston Celtics a decade ago in 2010!
Following the historic moment on Sunday night, Vanessa Bryant took to Instagram to congratulate the organization, but of course, she could not help but reflect on her late husband and daughter Gianna, who surely would’ve reveled in the joyous celebration if they were still alive today.
In a post on her IG Story, Vanessa shared a picture of her late husband alongside Rob Pelinka, who serves as the general manager of the Lakers. He was also Kobe’s agent and best friend for years, hence the endearing nickname she used in her caption, which read:
“Congratulations Uncle P! Congratulations @lakers Kobe was right, RP! ‘Stay the course- blockout the noise.’”
“Wish Kobe and Gigi were here to see this.”
Ugh. That is so heartbreaking but true. The team had been openly trying to win this championship in their honor and the beloved pair would’ve loved to see them crowned victorious. We can’t begin to imagine how bittersweet this moment must’ve been for the momma of four.
Mrs. Bryant also shared a heartfelt tribute to Kobe and Gianna in honor of National Father-Daughter Day, too, writing this message (below) alongside a photo of the duo at the 2009 NBA Championship:
“#GirlDad #DaddysGirl #Mamba #Mambacita #2 #8 #24 Congratulations @Lakers.”
As you may recall, Vanessa and her family made their social media profiles private months ago to make the grieving process a little easier after losing their loved ones and seven others in a tragic helicopter crash over Calabasas in January — but you can see her emotional messages in the screengrabs here.
As we mentioned earlier, the entire Lakers organization dedicated their victory to Kobe, with star Anthony Davis sending love to the basketball legend’s family while answering questions after the big game:
“Ever since the tragedy, all we wanted to do is do it for him and we didn’t let him down. It would have been great to do it last game in his jerseys, but it made us come down even more aggressive, even more powerful on both ends of the floor, to make sure we close it down tonight. I know he’s looking down on us proud of us. I know Vanessa is proud of us, the organization’s proud of us. It means a lot to us.”
LeBron James also reflected on Kobe’s death in a post-game interview, sharing that his passing brought their team “even closer together.” He shared:
“And obviously we know it brought the whole basketball world close as well. But when you’re internal and it hits home, it just means that much more. We locked in from that very moment, saying, ‘This is bigger than us, this is bigger than us.’”
We hope Vanessa, Bianka, Natalia, and even little Capri can find some form of comfort in hearing these words and how fans across the city have rallied their support for the home team and their family. Though the big game went down at the NBA Bubble down in Orlando, crowds gathered in front of the Staples Center AKA “the house that Kobe built” after the win to celebrate and pay their respects by chanting his name, as seen (below):
“KOBE. KOBE. KOBE.”
STAPLES Center is the place to be rn. pic.twitter.com/BCRHxMHgDy
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) October 12, 2020
Congrats again, LA! And to Kobe and Gianna, we hope they’re resting peacefully.
[Image via WENN/Instar/ESPN/YouTube]
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