“I used to always avoid praising my husband in public because I felt like he got enough praise from his fans around the world and someone had to bring him back to reality,” she said in her speech. “Right now, I’m sure he’s laughing in Heaven because I’m about to praise him in public for his accomplishments on one of the most public stages. I can see him now, arms folded with a huge grin, saying, ‘Isn’t this some sh*t?’”
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While standing on stage with an emotional Michael Jordan, she added of her late husband, “He’s still winning.”
She then went on to thank the friends and family who have been available to her and her daughters, in their time of mourning, Kobe’s parents Pam and Joe “for bringing one of the most amazing human beings into this world,” and “all those who helped him” to achieve all he did in his life and career.
“I know that he would thank everyone who helped him get here, including the people that doubted him and the people that worked against him,” she said. “He would thank all of them for motivating him to be here. After all, he proved you wrong.”
Vanessa Bryant wrapped up her speech with a list of thank yous to Kobe, noting that he was not only “an incredible athlete” who cared deeply about his fans, but also “a visionary entrepreneur and storyteller” and “an amazing family man.”
“Congratulations, baby. All of your hard work and sacrifice has paid off,” ” she said in closing. “You once told me, ‘If you’re going to bet on someone, bet on yourself.’ I’m glad you bet on yourself, you overachiever. You did it. I love you forever and always.”
Kobe Bryant passed away on January 26, 2020, alongside his daughter Gigi, after the helicopter he was in crashed into the side of a mountain in Calabasas. The beloved athlete, who spent the entirety of his 20-year career with the L.A. Lakers, was 41.
Check out Vanessa Bryant’s tribute to Kobe above.
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