When Kobe Bryant’s handprints were immortalized in the forecourt of the TLC Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, his 20-year-old daughter Natalia delivered a moving speech that honored her late father.
Over three years ago, legendary basketball star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a tragic helicopter crash in the Calabasas Hills. Last week, he became the first athlete to have his hands and feet imprinted in cement at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.
“I’m honored to be here today to recognize the man that we all knew and love my dad, Kobe Bryant,” Natalia began, speaking alongside her sisters and mother, Vanessa. “Being his daughter is one of the greatest joys of my life, and I hope to continue to embody and cherish the many lessons he has taught me…This day symbolizes the impact that he has had on a city that he loved and cared for so deeply.”
She added the sentiments, “I encourage you to place your hands in his and take a moment to stand in his shoes. This will be a treasure for the city of Los Angeles and my dad’s fans from all over the world to hold and to cherish.”
Concluding her speech, Natalia also mentioned her sister Gianna, who also tragically lost her life. While paying tribute to his life, she ended her speech by noting just how much his daughters loved him, including Gianna.
Natalia Bryant is ‘honored’ to represent her father and the Los Angeles Lakers star.
“Dad, you’re an icon, a legend, the storyteller, and most importantly, the best girl dad any young woman could ever dream of,” she said. “I’m honored to be here to represent you and our family, and we are extremely proud of you. We will love you forever and always. Love, Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri, and Mommy.”
Following the event, Vanessa Bryant openly acknowledged how proud she was of Natalia for being able to articulate such a touching speech. “Natalia, I know how hard it is to do what you did today,” the widow wrote. “We are so proud of you. Love you all.”
In addition to the Bryant family, Kobe’s mentor Byron Scott was also at the ceremony and told PEOPLE it was “amazing” to watch Natalia honor her father. “I’ve known the Bryant family all his life, basically since they’ve been together, so watching her speak today was amazing,” he said of the 20-year-old.
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