Vanessa Bryant and her three daughters recently honored their late father, Kobe Bryant, with a lavish, yet meaningful and memorable trip to Italy. The trip included several friends of the family – including some celebrities – as they enjoyed plenty of laughter and smiles with good company.
The trip comes just a month after Vanessa and her three daughters – Natalia, Capri, and Bianka – visited Kobe Bryant’s childhood home in Philadelphia for Father’s Day. In Philly, they had a chance to visit a new mural (and basketball courts) honoring the late Kobe and Gianna Bryant.
For those that don’t remember, Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant – along with several others – were killed in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. It was an announcement that no one expected and one that brought the entire sports community – entire world – to a complete stop.
Where Did Kobe Bryant Grow Up?
The family touched down in several Italian cities that were significant to Kobe Bryant’s childhood – he spent seven years in Italy while his father, Joe Bryant, played professionally overseas. During this time, Kobe became acquainted with the area and learned to speak Italian fluently.
Kobe Bryant made quite the impression on Italy. His father first moved the family to Reiti in 1984, but they eventually moved to Reggio Calabria, Pistoia, and finally Reggio Emilia. Kobe once said some of his best childhood memories came when he was living in Reggio Calabria.
Los Angeles might be the city that put Kobe Bryant on the map, but it was Italy where he learned to play the game and play the game well. To honor the Hall of Fame basketball player, let’s take a look at his family’s beautiful and adorable photos from their trip to Italy just a few days ago!
20. With Ellen Pompeo & Natalia
It looks like Vanessa and Natalia Bryant had a night out with Ellen Pompeo and her husband Chris Ivery in Sicily, Italy. Pompeo is an actress best known for her role as Dr. Meredith Grey in Grey’s Anatomy, while her husband, Ivery, is an ultra-private music producer and writer.
Random Kobe Fact: Many people forget that Kobe Bryant’s father, Joe Bryant, spent eight seasons in the NBA. After that, he moved his family to Italy, where he played another seven seasons of professional basketball. It was in Italy that Kobe learned of his love for basketball.
19. At the Pool in Noto
Continuing their trip in Sicily, it looks like the family had some time to relax by the pool in those extremely comfortable lounge beds with nothing but farmland surrounding them – talk about peace and quiet in paradise! Of course, you can’t visit Italy without having Italian food!
Random Kobe Fact: Kobe Bryant was so attached to the Italian community that he decided to give his four daughters Italian names – Gianna Maria-Onore, Natalia Diamante, Bianka Bella and Capri. In a 2011 interview on the radio, Kobe said, “Italy will always be close to my heart.”
18. Bianca Bryant Looks Happy
Bianca Bella Bryant, commonly referred to as BB, is growing up so fast. She was born on December 5, 2016 – just eight months after Kobe Bryant played his final NBA game. Today, the bundle of joy is five years old and is full of life – I mean, just look at that adorable smile she has!
Random Kobe Fact: While Kobe Bryant gave his daughters Italian names, Joe Bryant didn’t do the same for Kobe. In fact, his father named him after the very expensive and renowned Japanese cut of meat – known as Kobe beef. He got the idea after seeing it on a menu.
17. With Sharia Washington
Among the Bryant family during their Italy trip was Sharia Washington, otherwise known as Kobe Bryant’s sister. She’s a fitness guru and entrepreneur that’s currently married to Jerrod Washington – the couple shares three children together, one son and two daughters.
Random Kobe Fact: It wasn’t all about basketball when Kobe lived in Italy. He was frequently seen playing pickup games in soccer – he preferred goalie or midfielder. In fact, he might’ve pursued a career in soccer over basketball if he never moved back to the States – Kobe had a dream of playing for AC Milan one day.
16. Vanessa & Natalia
Vanessa Bryant gave birth to Natalia Bryant on January 19, 2003 – at the time, Kobe was in the midst of his seventh season in the NBA and was fresh off a three-peat. That was over 19 years ago and you can see just how much Natalia has grown since then – they look like sisters!
Random Kobe Fact: Although Kobe Bryant would never sue a city in Italy, he once sued the city of Kobe in Japan. His attorney stated that Kobe Bryant has garnered far more attention and popularity than the city of Kobe. Unfortunately, the lawsuit didn’t work and they kept the name.
15. Natalia, Bianka, and Capri
Looking at this photo is both heartening and depressing. It’s heartening to see the three daughters – Natalia, Bianka, and Capri – together with so much life in their smiles. At the same time, the photo is missing one extremely important piece – Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant.
Random Kobe Fact: One thing many people don’t know about Kobe is that he was almost a hip-hop artist. He released a single called ‘K.O.B.E.’ in 2000 with supermodel Tyra Banks. Unfortunately, the song didn’t do well and Sony dropped him before an album was released.
14. Natalia in Caltagirone
It looks like the Bryant family stopped at the Caltagirone historic center (centro storico) and couldn’t help but take a beautiful picture of Kobe’s eldest daughter, Natalia. Caltagirone is an inland city in Southern Italy – more specifically, in the Sicilian region. It’s known for its pottery.
Random Kobe Fact: When Kobe Bryant made his NBA debut on November 3, 1996, he became the youngest player to ever appear in an NBA game at 18 years, 5 months, and 5 days old – a record that was broken by his teammate, Andrew Bynum (18 years and 6 days old).
13. Hanging Out On the Airplane
Here’s a photo of Vanessa Bryant with one of her daughters on the airplane – probably on their way to yet another Italian city. I don’t know how they were able to stay awake because anytime I’m on an airplane, I pass out within five minutes of boarding. I guess everyone is different!
Random Kobe Fact: In addition to being the third-youngest player to ever appear in an NBA game (behind Andrew Bynum and Jermaine O’Neal), Kobe remains the youngest player to ever start an NBA game – something he achieved at 18 years and 156 days, just 84 days after his debut.
12. Capri & Ischia
Capri Kobe Bryant was born on June 20, 2019 – three years after Kobe Bryant retired from the league. She’s the youngest of the four daughters (including Gianna). As you can see, they visited the islands of Ischia and Capri – yes, that’s the island Kobe’s daughter was named after.
Random Kobe Fact: Much like Capri, Kobe Bryant knows what it’s like being the youngest in the family. Kobe was the youngest of three children – he had two older sisters named Sharia (who we saw in a picture earlier) and Shaya – who was born 13 months before Kobe was.
11. The Three Princesses
These photos of Natalia, Bianka, and Capri are too much to handle. If you continue scrolling through, you get a taste of the amazing art, culture, sights, views, and more that Italy has to offer. In this particular photo dump, it looks like the family was still enjoying the sights of Capri, Italy.
Random Kobe Fact: Kobe Bryant was born in Philadelphia in 1978. At the time, his father was playing for the Philadelphia 76ers – where he spent the first four years of his NBA career. Despite being born in the city, Kobe grew up a Lakers’ fan and was booed in Philly as a player.
10. Boatside Chillin’
You can’t visit Capri, Italy without enjoying a day on the water in a beautiful boat – of course, you can’t miss the pizza and pasta, which is always a plus. It looks like they had the perfect weather (blue skies all around) and the perfect chef (because that food is making me extremely hungry!).
Random Kobe Fact: Kobe Bryant and his father, Joe Bryant, had similar rookie seasons. Joe finished with 7.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.3 blocks per game in 1975-76, while Kobe had 7.6 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.3 blocks per game in 1996-97.
9. Family Traditions
Capri and Bianka with the matching outfits in Capri, Italy – find a more perfect picture than this one, I’ll wait! You can tell how close this family is and it’s clear they choose to enjoy every waking moment they have together. And we’re all lucky enough to witness them all grow up!
Random Kobe Fact: As of 2022, Kobe Bryant has the fourth-most points scored in NBA history with 33,643 career points – only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James, and Karl Malone have more. At the same time, Bryant has the most misses in NBA history at 14,481.
8. Tell Us How You Really Feel, BB
If you didn’t laugh at this classic BB moment, then I don’t know what to tell you. For those that didn’t hear, Bianka said, “Mom, next time we go to Italy, please do not take us into Blue Grotto.” Apparently, Bianka wasn’t really feeling it – Blue Grotto is a sea cave on the island of Capri, Italy.
Random Kobe Fact: It wasn’t just Kobe and his father that had basketball in their blood. Kobe’s mother, Pam, had a brother named Chubby Cox – he spent the 1982-83 season with the Washington Bullets. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to make much of the opportunity.
7. Family & Food in Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Here, we catch a glimpse of Vanessa and the girls in Positano – a small town on the Amalfi Coast, which sits on the southern edge of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula. It’s a city Vanessa traveled to with Kobe many times through the years and, as you can see, they have some good food!
Random Kobe Fact: In 1996, at the age of 17, Kobe Bryant attended prom at Lower Merion Township High School with none other than Brandy – a famous singer and songwriter. One month later, Bryant was drafted into the NBA, doing so straight out of high school.
6. More Boat Time
You can never get enough boat time when visiting Italy – especially when that boat has a jacuzzi and fresh fruit ready for you to enjoy. It looks like Bianca and Capri were enjoying the jacuzzi. And I’m sure that fresh fruit didn’t last too long – but at least it lasted long enough to take a photo!
Random Kobe Fact: While Kobe Bryant spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers – his favorite childhood team – he almost wasn’t a Laker at all. He was drafted 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets, who then traded him to the Lakers for center Valde Divac – a Hall of Famer himself.
5. Natalia Doing Donuts
A day on the water wouldn’t be complete without some jet skis, but who knew Natalia was such a pro! She seems to be having no trouble with the donuts and looks to be having a blast doing it – as she should! I can’t remember the last time I was on a jet ski, but it might be time to get on one!
Random Kobe Fact: On January 22, 2006 – just a few months before Gianna was born – Kobe Bryant scored a career-high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. He scored 55 of those points in the second half – 27 in the third quarter and 28 in the fourth quarter. It’s the second-most points scored in one game and in one half – only behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game and 59-point half.
4. Look at That Smile!
Here, we get a look at the Bryant family in Maratea, a small town in the province of Potenza – it’s sometimes referred to as ‘the Pearl of the Tyrrhenian,’ as it sits on the Tyrrhenian coast. It’s a very religious town, known for being ‘the town with 44 churches.’ Now take a look at that smile!
Random Kobe Fact: Kobe Bryant’s middle name is Bean, which was a nod to his father’s nickname ‘Jellybean.’ After retiring from basketball, Joe ‘Jellybean’ Bryant coached the Los Angeles Sparks – leading them to a 40-24 record over 64 games. He also coached in Japan.
3. The Bryant’s in Maratea
The Bryant family continued their visit by taking to the streets of Maratea – I love how peaceful, calm, tranquil, and pleasant the town looks. It’s definitely a different lifestyle than the one they’re used to in Newport, California. Of course, that’s what makes these trips so special and memorable.
Random Kobe Fact: Not many players stay with the same team their entire career, but Kobe Bryant did that for 20 years – in fact, he was the first to achieve it. What’s even more surprising is that Kobe was the first guard (shooting guard or point guard) to play 20 seasons in the NBA. Jamal Crawford and Vince Carter are the only other two.
2. Swimming & Smiling
More swimming, more jet skis, more beautiful views, more smiles, and even a beautiful sunset! Apparently, Panarea – the smallest of the seven inhabited Aeolian Islands – has it all. You can tell the Bryant family doesn’t get sea sick or tired of the water, which is necessary when in Italy!
Random Kobe Fact: When Kobe Bryant retired, he had the second-most All-Star selections in NBA history with 18 – the only player with more is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Since then, LeBron James has tied Kobe at 18 and has an opportunity to surpass the Laker legend this season.
1. Visited Reggio Calabria
To finish the photo dump, Vanessa Bryant shared some moments in Reggio Calabria – a city that means a lot to Kobe Bryant. It’s the second city in Italy Joe Bryant moved his family. In an interview, Kobe once said of the city, “I grew up here. I used to ride my bike here. There were all my friends, I have many memories, it’s special.”
Random Kobe Fact: A 12-year-old Kobe Bryant joined a local basketball team in Reggio Calabria in 1990. This is when his talent became evident. His coach once said:
“We used to know the Bryants, Joe played with us for two years and Kobe was part of the junior team, too. People remember him. They have memories of him as a child, while he watched his dad playing…an image that remained etched in our memory.”
Kobe Bryant & His Legacy Will Live On Forever
We can’t believe it’s been two and a half years since that tragic day when Gianna and Kobe Bryant passed away. At the same time, we think it’s absolutely beautiful what Vanessa Bryant and her three children – Natalia, Capri, and Bianka – have done since that day to honor them.
Kobe Bryant’s legacy goes down in history as one of the greatest. On the court, he’s an 18-time All-Star, five-time champion, one-time MVP, two-time Finals MVP, two-time scoring champ, and four-time All-Star MVP. He averaged 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game.
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Off the court, he’s a loving and devoted husband and father to some, and an entrepreneur, icon, philanthropist, mentor, friend, and more to others. He was always putting everyone else before himself and not only expected the best out of those around him, but he helped them achieve it.
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