Vanessa Bryant paid tribute to her late daughter Gianna on Friday, marking the first birthday since she was killed in a helicopter crash along with her father Kobe Bryant and seven others in Calabasas earlier this year.
Gigi Bryant would have turned 14 years old on May 1.
“Happy 14th Birthday to my sweet baby girl, Gianna,” her mother wrote on Instagram. “Mommy loves you more than I can ever show you. You are part of MY SOUL forever. I miss you so much everyday. I wish I could wake up and have you here with me. I miss your smile, your hugs and your giggles. I miss EVERYTHING about YOU, Gigi. I LOVE YOU so much!!!!!!!
Soon after the first post, Bryant followed up with another image of herself dressed in red, her wrist adorned by a rubber bracelet bearing her daughter’s name and nickname, Mambacita.
She explained the significance of color, saying it means love and life, and that Gigi would wear a red bow in all of her school photos. She asked others to help commemorate her daughter’s birthday by wearing red or performing an act of kindness.
“Please consider wearing red, caption an act of kindness or show how you will play Gigi’s way since she always gave everything she did her all and led with kindness. Please use the hashtag #PlayGigisWay Thank you. 5-1-06 Mambacita,” she wrote in the second post.
Kobe and Gianna Bryant were headed to a youth basketball tournament along with her teammates, their parents and a coach, on the morning of Jan. 26 when their helicopter crashed amid thick fog. All nine people on board died.
Gigi, a budding basketball talent, was recently honored during the WNBA’s draft, as were two of her teammates killed in the crash, Alyssa Altbobelli and Payton Chester
All three were named honorary draft picks by the league two weeks ago.
“It would have been a dream come true for her,” Vanessa Bryant told ESPN. “She worked tirelessly every single day. She wanted to be one of the greatest athletes of all time just like her daddy.”