Natalia Bryant pays tribute to dad Kobe on birthday: ‘I love you forever’

The 17-year-old took to Instagram to honor her late father, Lakers star Kobe Bryant

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To celebrate Kobe Bryant’s birthday eight months after his untimely passing, daughter Natalia Bryant, widowed-wife Vanessa Bryant and more shared touching messages on social media on Sunday.

Natalia took to her Instagram page to share a sweet message dedicated to the late Lakers star on what would have been his 42nd birthday. The 17-year-old included personal notes to honor her relationship with her father.

“…I miss your smile, laugh, and big bear hugs,” Natalia, Kobe and Vanessa’s oldest daughter, wrote. “Happy Birthday to the best movie buddy I could have ever asked for. I will always remember our late night drives to the movie theater with the windows rolled down and listening to our favorite songs. I love you forever and always. Always, Slim.”

Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, died on Jan. 26 after their helicopter crashed in Southern California, leaving behind Vanessa, Natalia, and his younger daughters, Bianka Bryant and Capri Bryant.

The term #GirlDad began trending shortly after Kobe’s passing when videos resurfaced of the NBA star showing love to his daughters and proclaiming he was meant to be a “girl dad.” Through his loving stance, the public saw Kobe’s consistent presence in his daughters’ lives and inspired many other fathers to do the dame.

The Los Angeles Lakers, the only NBA team Kobe played for during his 20-year career, pinned “Girl Dad” in their birthday message to the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee.

The 2020 Hall of Fame inductees will be formally inducted in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Saturday, Aug. 29.

Natalia’s mother, Vanessa, also posted a tribute to her late husband on his birthday, The Grio previously reported.

“…As much as I want to cry, I put a smile on my face to make our daughters’ days shine a little brighter. I’m not the strong one, they are. They’re strong and resilient…,” Vanessa wrote.

In her message, she was transparent about the pain his loss continues to cause her, but she was also joyous and hopeful, ending her message with, “I love you now, forever, and always.”

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