Vanessa Bryant reveals Natalia missed Kobe induction ceremony for prom
"Even in heaven, he's still trying to make moves and keep the boys away."
Vanessa Bryant has revealed that her eldest daughter Natalia missed Kobe Bryant’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday due to her senior prom.
As theGrio’s Matthew Allen previously reported, with the death of the NBA superstar in January 2020, fans were unable to hear his acceptance speech. Instead, his widow courageously stood in his place as he was enshrined with other basketball legends. Vanessa was accompanied by Kobe’s presenter, friend and mentor, Michael Jordan. All inductees get to choose current Hall of Famers to present them into induction during their speech. Jordan was inducted in 2009.
In an Instagram post shared Sunday, Vanessa revealed that Natalia missed the ceremony because her senior prom fell on the same night as the event. The proud mother of 4 shared a photo of her kissing her daughter on the cheek along with the caption, “Natalia almost missed her senior prom last night,” she wrote, as reported by PEOPLE.
Bryant added, “When I was a senior in high school, Kobe and I were engaged and he had a playoff game the night of my prom. Kobe didn’t want me going to prom without him and I didn’t want to go without him. When we heard Natalia’s prom night and Kobe’s Hall of Fame night were on the same night, I looked at Natalia and said, ‘well if it’s any consolation, daddy kept me from going to my prom, so it’s only right that he tried to keep you from going to yours.’ ?.”
She continued, “Of course we laughed because even in heaven, he’s still trying to make moves and keep the boys away. Natalia’s experienced so much loss, I couldn’t let her miss out on her once in a lifetime opportunity to go to her senior prom. Thank you for flying out to accept daddy’s Hall of Fame jacket and fly home the next morning. #HallofFame #SeniorPromNight @nataliabryant.”
Natalia joined her mother a day before the induction ceremony for the Tip-Off Celebration and Awards Gala, where she received Kobe’s Hall of Fame jacket and ring.
Vanessa delivered a grateful, stoic speech during the induction ceremony on Saturday. Kobe, along with their daughter, Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020. As previously reported by theGrio, Vanessa was informed that Kobe was inducted for the class of 2020 in April 2020. She began last night’s speech by acknowledging Jordan.
“Last February, I called Michael and asked him if he would introduce Kobe tonight, and he graciously accepted. Thank you for being here, Michael,” she told Jordan as he stood by her side. “Kobe admired you. This means so much to us.”
“I wish my husband was here to accept this incredible award,” said Vanessa. “He and Gigi deserve to be here to witness this. Gigi would be so proud to watch her daddy get enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame. I know Kobe was looking forward to being here. He asked the Hall of Fame to specifically add a sixth ticket for Capri, he was so happy.”
“There will never be anyone like Kobe,” she continued. “Kobe was one of a kind. He was special, he was humble off the court but bigger than life.”
She acknowledged everyone in her family’s circle who has been supportive for her and Kobe’s three other daughters, Natalia, Bianca and Capri.
“To all of our close friends and family who have been present for my girls and I, thank you,” Vanessa said. “That list is long, and it takes a village. But know that your kindness and love does not go unappreciated. I know that Kobe is thankful that you’re all coming through for his girls.”
Also enshrined in the 2020 class were legendary NBA power forwards Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.
The annual event was originally slated to take place in August 2020, but was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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