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Vanessa Bryant Eulogizes her husband Kobe Bryant and Daughter Gigi

Vanessa Bryant



It was a somber bittersweet day in the Staples Center in Los Angeles when 20,000 mourners packed into the indoor stadium that the late NBA Player Kobe Bryant built to bid him and his 13-year old daughter Gianna farewell.

His widow Vanessa Bryant, a celebrity mom covered often on the blog, gave a heart breaking but still beautiful eulogy of her husband and daughter. As USA Today summarized in its coverage:

She mourned the loss of her “baby girl” Gianna, “a sweet and gentle soul” and preternaturally talented athlete who she said was destined for WNBA greatness. She remembered her husband as a soulful romantic with a “tender heart” and a “doting” father for whom family always came first.

“They were funny, happy, silly, and they loved life,” Vanessa said of Kobe and Gianna, adding: “God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together.”

Beyonce Knowles Carter opened the event performing one of her hits, “XO” which she said was one of Kobe’s favorite song with lyrics that go, “In the darkest hour / I’ll search through the crowd / Your face is all I can see / I’ll give you everything.” She later burst into a soulful rendition of her song, “Halo

Alicia Keys moved the crowd by playing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” a piece she said was favored by Kobe and Vanessa.

Keys had previously paid tribute to Kobe and Gianna on the night they died, performing “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye” alongside Boyz II Men at the Grammy Awards last month.

At various points throughout the event, the crowd broke out in chants of “Kobe! Kobe!”

Retired NBA stars Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade, and Tim Duncan along with entertainer Jennifer Lopez and her fiance retired baseball player Alex Rodriguez and late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel were all in attendance for the ceremony, along with other celebs like friends of the Bryant family Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West.

The date chosen for the memorial — Feb. 24, or 2/24/20 — is a combination of their jersey numbers. Gianna wore No. 2 and her dad wore No. 24 in the latter part of his 20-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Tickets went for variations of 2 and 4, $24.24 or $224 for two.

Several NBA legends like former teammates  Shaquille O’Neal and Jordon gave rousing speeches by my fave was by University of Oregon player Sabrina Ionesco who gave a wonderful speech and tribute to girls sports too in honor of GiGi .

Proceeds will go to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation which raises money to provide sports education and training services for young women. The foundation was originally established as the Mamba Sports Academy, but Bryant’s widow announced that the name was changed to honor their daughter.

Kobe Bryant gave himself the moniker “Black Mamba” after a character in the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill.

“Because there is no #24 without #2, we have updated the Mamba Sports Foundation to now be called the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation,” Vanessa Bryant wrote on her Instagram page announcing the name change.

The two were headed to a game during a basketball tournament at a sports arena in Thousand Oaks, California named for Mamba when the helicopter they were riding in crashed killing them along with Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, his wife Keri Altobelli, 46, and their daughter Alyssa Altobelli, 14; Sarah Chester, 45, and her daughter Payton Chester, 13; as well as Mamba Sports Academy coach Christina Mauser, 38; and pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.

Also from a NBCNews report:

Bryant and his daughter were traveling to Gigi’s basketball game in a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter, when it crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, Calif., on Jan. 26. All eight passengers and the pilot were killed.

The Bryants were laid to rest in a private ceremony in Southern California on Feb. 7.

Before the public ceremony got underway, the Los Angeles Times reported Vanessa Bryant has filed a lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters, the company that operated the chopper. NPR later confirmed the lawsuit with the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board said in its investigative update this month that the chopper’s rotors were both powered and turning at the time of impact, which it said indicates “the engines showed no evidences of uncontained or catastrophic internal failure.”

Photos taken shortly after the crash show conditions were foggy in the hills above Calabasas, but as NPR’s Russell Lewis has reported, the final investigative findings are not expected for at least a year.

photos: Getty

Work Ethic is Hard to Teach So Let’s Try Kobe Bryant’s ‘Mamba Mentality’

I am a novice basketball fan and know the game well and vaguely follow the NBA and college basketball (moreso during March Madness) but like a lot of people, I am deeply moved and saddened over the recent passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash with his 13-year old daughter Gianna and 7 others.

Today, there are moving tributes in social and traditional media.

TNT‘s NBA on TNT has an excellent one airing that my husband watched last night and urged me to do the same.

I am struggling with it because each video, image and tweet devastate me even more. The extreme visceral reaction from a lot of us who never knew him personally says something about a person, you know, that even casual observers can be so affected by their loss.

While Bryant is probably best known for his records and uber competitive spirit, the one thing that I, personally, admired Bryant for was his very strong work ethic which is the basis for his success and ability to be on top.

When you can, head over to Business Insider and read a recent article about 24 examples of Bryant’s impeccable work ethic HERE!

As a parent and parenting blogger and expert, I am always working on, reading about and discussing the challenge teaching  work ethic to children.

It is my opinion that either you have that drive to succeed and complete any task presented to you (be in in school, on the field, in work or wherever)  or you do not.

Some kids will assess a goal and put in the work to get it done, with varying level of tenacity and some will not, unless pushed, bribed, cajoled or directed to with painstaking detail and instructions. Those in the latter group do not necessarily have strong work ethic.

I’ve long believed that  those in the category that some parents may call “lazy” have to be drilled and drilled until the method of accomplishing a task becomes a habit.

At that point, they will finally be able handle the task automatically.

Examples include the process of undertaking the precise steps to craft a well-researched term paper, or execute an Algebraic equation or increase execution of a skill or athletic drill.

With habit and repeated action, the task eventually will become second nature.

The problem with this method is that there is a risk that the child will not necessarily know how to readjust and create similar formula for another task on their own, or in college or at work, when there is not a parent, coach or other adult figure in their lives to show and guide them.

Like I said, it’s one of my most difficult challenges as a parent.

We just have to keep experimenting and trying like this morning, motivated by the stories he heard from Bryant’s coaches, mentors, fellow players and friends my husband called our two boys to the dining room to explain that although Kobe Bryant was already excellent and one of the greatest NBA players around, he still worked harder and trained more than his co-horts at the top.

We are working on getting our boys especially to try harder at the things they are not good at, using Kobe Bryant’s work ethic as an example.

I hope it sinks in, but even if it doesn’t I hope they still can still have the Bryant benchmark in mind as they move forward in school, work and life.

 

Kobe Bryant and Rising Basketball Star Daughter, Gigi, Perish in Helicopter Crash

Gianna and Kobe Bryant Collage Bellyitchblog.com
Gianna and Kobe Bryant Collage Bellyitchblog.com

Photos: Vanessa Bryant’s Instagram, Getty

Sad news about the family of Vanessa Bryant covered plenty in this blog over the past 10 years: her husband, legendary NBA player Kobe Bryant and their 13 year old daughter Gianna “Gigi” Marie-Onore died along with the pilot of a helicopter they were traveling in this morning and reportedly, another parent Orange  and young player, on their way to a tournament in Thousand Oaks, California.

Our thoughts are with Vanessa and their other three surviving daughters 17-year old Natalia, 3-year old Bianka and 7-month old Capri, and the friends and family of all who perished.

While Kobe was known for being a 20-year vet, the third highest scoring player in NBA history, a 5-time NBA champ, MVP Award winner and 18-times All-Star player, Gigi was coming into her own in the sport.

At just 13-years old, she stood pretty tall at 5 feet 10 inches and playe for an AAU team, the  Los Angeles Lady Mamba girls basketball team, which Kobe coached.

Before her untimely death, Gigi  dreamed of one day playing for legendary coach Geno Auriemma at Connecticut and to eventually join the WNBA.

According to a recent Los Angeles Times report, Kobe recently took her to see Los Angeles Sparks ,Phoenix Mercury, and Las Vegas Aces games.

Mom was also a fan, naturally, of her budding basketball star daughter and her personal Instagram feed featured lots of photos and videos of Gigi at play.

vanessa bryant inst of gigi

credit: Vanessa Bryant

A video posted by Baller TV via ESPN showed Gianna knocking down a stepback jumper during an AAU game with her club team which drew comparison to her dad, also her trainer and coach, obviously.

 

Kobe admitted that since retiring in 2016, he only re-started watching basketball because of Gigi’s love of the sport.

“Before Gigi got into basketball I hardly watched it, but now that’s she’s into basketball, we watch every night,” Kobe told former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the Showtime Basketball podcast All the Smoke.

Since his Jersey was retired in 2017, he had not been seen courtside at a Lakers game until recently with his daughter.

“We just had so much fun because it was the first time I was seeing the game through her eyes,” the five-time NBA champion said of sharing the experience with his daughter.

“It wasn’t me sitting there, you know, as an athlete or a player or something like that, and you know it’s like about me, and I don’t like that,” he added. “It was her, she was having such a good time.”

RIP to both. What a tragic loss for the sports world and the family.

Celebrity Trend: Naming Baby Girls Junior After Dad

Hmmm… Is this a trend of celebrities naming their baby girls after their dads?

Could be! As the institutional memory in celebrity pregnancy online content, I have noticed a pattern.

Vanessa and Kobe Bryant chose to name their newest arrival, daughter Capri Kobe Bryant.

Two years ago, tennis ace and newest Wheaties box cover model Serena Williams named her daughter after her husband, who famously has a name that is usually given to a girl anyway: Alexis.

Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr. is named after dad, Reddit co-founder and investor Alexis Ohanian. (She boasts over a half a million followers on Instagram)

Similarly, NBA star Imani Shumpert has a unisex first name that usually is given to girls and thus it’s not a stretch to have his daughter with singer, model and dancer Teyana Taylor be named Imani Shumpert, Jr. (though she is affectionately nicknamed “Junebug” and has 444K followers)

I must admit, the “Junior” at the end adds an extra layer of “kicking conventionality in the buttocks” to me! Gotta love it!

Who else? Add to the list and join the convo at @Bellyitch on Facebook under this post!

Vanessa and Kobe Bryant Welcome 4th Daughter, Capri

vanessa bryant and fam

Congrats to Vanessa Bryant on the birth of her fourth child, another baby girl.

The wife to NBA star Kobe Bryant shared the news on Friday, June 21 via Instagram though she actually gave birth to a baby girl on Thursday, June 20, US Weekly reports.

“Our baby girl is here!!!!!!” Vanessa wrote on Friday, June 21, via Instagram. “Capri Kobe Bryant. So thankful for our newest baby blessing.”

The former Los Angeles, Lakers star and his wife announced on New Year’s Day on January 1 that they had another baby on the way with an enthusiastic Instagram reveal.

“Vanessa and I are beyond excited to announce that we are expecting another #mambacita to go along with Natalia, Gianna and Bianca,” the athlete wrote at the time. “New Year, New Baby! Baby Mamba on the Way 2019.”

The couple are parents to daughters 16-year old Natalia Diamante, 13-year old Gianna Maria-Onore and 2-year old Bianka Bella,.

The baby’s middle and last name is the same as dad’s!

It is reminiscent of Serena Williams‘ daughter who shares the same firs and last name as her dad, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, and Teyana Taylor‘s daughter Imani Shumpert Jr. who shares the same first and last name as her dad. Is this a new celebrity trend or what?

Inside Vanessa Bryant’s Baby Shower for Baby Girl #4

Vanessa Bryant celebrated her Mother’s Day weekend with a baby shower to welcome the addition of her latest princess to the Bryant family.

In family photos of the event posted by Bryant and her famous Los Angeles Lakers retired basketball player husband Kobe Bryant, pink white and gold balloons, butterfly ornaments and pink rose florals in white box vases can be seen in front of a green shrub wall.

“Happy Mother’s Day @vanessabryant,” the NBA legend captioned a photo of his family at the baby shower. “We love you and thank you for all that you do for our family. You are the foundation of all that we hold dear.”

Vanessa took time to pose with her mom at the event.

The 4-time mom-to-be wore a stunning pink bump-hugging, long sleeve off the shoulder dress which looked fab with her neutral baby pink nails, and soft blush makeup, her hair in loose cascading ringlets.

The couple are parents to three girls: 16-year old Natalia Diamante, 13-year old Gianna Maria-Onore and 2-year old Bianka Bella.

They announced they were expecting their fourth child on New Year’s Day, another girl.

Kim Kardashian-West and Vanessa Bryant Both Expecting 4th Child

The year has started out with new celebrity baby news. Kim Kardashian West and her husband rapper/designer Kanye West confirmed that they are expecting their fourth child via surrogate. 

The baby on the way will join big siblings 1-year old Chicago, 3-year old Saint and 5 1/2 year old North, PEOPLE confirmed.

Also, former NBA star turned Oscar-winner Kobe Bryant announced via Instagram that he and his wife since 2001, Vanessa Bryant are expecting their fourth child as well.

“Vanessa and I are beyond excited to announce that we are expecting another #mambacita to go along with Natalia, Gianna and Bianka,”  the Academy Award-winning Dear Basketball animated short producer shared, revealing the sex of the child. 

Vanessa and Kobe Bryant Welcomed Their Third Daughter

vanessa-bryant-new-baby

When you’ve already given birth but you want to share with the world your totally gorgeous maternity portrait with all that shiny and healthy pregnancy hair and your man giving off all the feels vibes…was totally what Vanessa Bryant’s latest Instagram post was telling me.

Mrs. Vanessa Bryant and her husband veteran retired NBA star of the Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant welcomed their third daughter last week, TMZ Sports reported.

The new arrival joins their daughters 13-year old Diamante and 10-year old Gianna Marie-Onore.

Kobe and Vanessa Bryant at the 2016 ESPY Awards in July.

Kobe and Vanessa Bryant at the 2016 ESPY Awards in July.

We see RED is the philanthropist mom’s fave color. She looks good in it and wore it often this pregnancy, during the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards and the ESPYs this year in July, shortly after announcing the pregnancy and that they were having a baby girl.

vanessa-kobe-bryant-look-stunning

She also looked great in a red mini dress when in this 2011 archival photo at the Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion.

photo: Getty, Starcast, Screengrab

The Bryants Take in a Lakers Game Courtside

vanessa bryant and fam

Third-time mom-to-be Vanessa Bryant took in a game with her girls (in belly and out) and her husband, retired NBA veteran Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. She posted a photo of her brood enjoying a Lakers game court side and apparently, all of the activity and action had her soon-to-born daughter excited as well.

“My baby girl kept kicking me????,” the philanthropist captioned a photo she shared on Instagram.  “and Gigi (her daughter) looks like she’s ready to go in and play.”

Nice! You know how the saying goes: a family that has court side seats together…stays together. Ok. Maybe, that’s not precisely how the saying goes but you get the drift. It was a very adorable family fun moment captured.

Pregnant Vanessa Bryant Enjoys Perks of Not Having to Share Kobe with NBA

kobe bryant


Third-time mom-to-be Vanessa Bryant is enjoying the perks of having her husband, retired NBA veteran Kobe Bryant, home more often. The couple is currently baby-mooning in Hawaii.

A photo posted by Vanessa Bryant (@vanessabryant) on



Bryant shared photos of some of the sights that she is enjoying on the big island.

And a couple of weeks ago, on the way home from the Adele concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, she enjoyed a nice foot massage to soothe her achy pregnancy ankles.

“#Adele #Concert #Prego#TinyAnkles #BigBelly #PregoProblems#AcidReflux #SpriteBurp #FootMassageThx baby! ” she captioned the photo of Kobe rivaling Jay-Z for the best celeb hubby.

She also shared photos from the concert.

vanessa-bryant-i-kobe-bryant-1-e1470477114424

The former high school sweethearts are parents to 10-year old daughter Gianna and 13-year old daughter Natalia. Baby #3 is certainly a blessing because Vanessa suffered a miscarriage loss in between giving birth to her two daughters when she had an ecoptic pregnancy in 2005.