Hollywood, Athletes Pay Tribute to Kobe and Gianna Bryant on 1-Year Anniversary of Their Deaths

Vanessa Bryant shares a letter from one of Gianna’s best friends, while others honor the late athletes on social media.

On the one-year anniversary of their deaths, stars in both Hollywood and the athletic world are taking a moment to remember the late Kobe and Gianna “Gigi” Bryant.

It’s been a year since the Lakers legend, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others — including baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri Altobelli, their daughter Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester and her teenage daughter Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan — were killed in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020.

Kobe and Gianna were survived by Vanessa Bryant and the couple’s three other children; Natalia, Bianca and Capri. Late Monday night, Vanessa took to Instagram to say she’ll “never understand why/how this tragedy could’ve happened to such beautiful, king and amazing human beings.”

She said it “it still doesn’t seem real,” adding, “Kob, we did it right. Gigi, you still make mommy proud.” Vanessa also shared a letter she got from one of her daughter’s best friends, thanking her for allowing her to post the letter to her page. The note reflected on how “kind, carding and endlessly polite” Gianna was, saying she changed the lives of “every person who came across her.”

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Those in the entertainment industry and athletic community who knew and loved both Kobe and his daughter have also taken to their social media pages to pay tribute to the Bryants on Tuesday as well.

“Thank you God for allowing me enjoy Kobe Bryant for 20 years as a great basketball player, athlete, husband, father, philanthropist, mentor & teacher of the game to many men & women of all ages, best friend to Rob Pelinka, & brother to @jeaniebuss,” wrote Magic Johnson in a series of tweets. “Kobe will always be my @Lakers brother for life … Laker Nation we will always remember the brilliance, the legend, and the mamba mentality of #8/#24.”

“This morning I prayed for Vanessa Bryant and the girls,” he added, before saying he was not only honoring Kobe and Gianna, but all those who died in the crash.

“Don’t think I could recap a year any clearer from the moment I heard the news until today,” wrote Michael B. Jordan alongside a photo of Kobe and Gigi on Instagram.

“Appreciation of family. Of time. & purpose is heavy on my mind this morning,” he added. “Sending love & healing energy to the Bryant family. Rest in Power. You’ll never be forgotten. #mamba #mambacita”

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“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do,” wrote JJ Watt, quoting Kobe himself. “Mission accomplished. Rest In Peace Kobe.”

“Can’t believe it’s been a year since we lost #KobeBryant,” tweeted Jimmy Fallon alongside an interview clip with Kobe from his late night show. “Celebrating his life today, and feeling grateful to have known him.”

The Atlanta Hawks also paid tribute with a post reading, “Thank you, Kobe” and photos of players wearing “Thank you Kobe” t-shirts on the basketball court.

Journalist Jemele Hill, who interviewed Bryant many times through her career, shared a post reflecting on her last interview with Kobe.

“I think about my last interview w/ @kobebryant a lot because based off our conversation about @Kaepernick7, I believe he would have been a powerful voice in 2020,” she wrote, before referring to the racial injustice protests that broke out later that year. “Hard not to think about Kobe’s death in relationship to the many things that unraveled after.”

Rapper Common also shared a drawing to his IG, saying, “This illustration sums it up.” He added, “Keep trying until you make it. That’s the forever mentality. May God bless the souls of everyone that passed away in that helicopter accident a year ago!”

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See more tributes as they come in below:

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