Natalia Bryant gave a heartwarming speech at a ceremony honoring her late father recently. Kobe Bryant. Her words flowed during the unveiling of a permanent exhibit of Kobe’s hand and footprints.
In 2011, Kobe became the first professional athlete to leave his mark on the cement of the TCL Chinese Theater. From Wednesday the prints will remain on display in the forecourt of the venue. During her speech, Bryant’s eldest daughter said it was “only suitable” her father was the first considering how much he “loved and cared for” for Los Angeles.
“While most people knew him as a basketball player or a stroyteller, I came to know and love him as my father,” Natalia shared. “And let me tell you that he’s the MVP of girl dads, to say the least.”
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Although we often saw how Natalia attended tributes for the NBA champion and her late sister Gianna, her most recent speech is one of the few times we have heard her speak publicly about him since her death. Typically her mother Vanessa Bryant, picks up the microphone. she said PEOPLE in March 2021 that it is not “strong every day”, but that reveals “Finding the Light in the Darkness” brings them forward.
“The pain is unimaginable [but] You just have to get up and move forward. Lying in bed crying won’t change the fact that my family will never be the same again. But getting out of bed and moving forward will make the day better for my girls and for me. So that’s what I’m doing,” Vanessa said.
Natalia says Kobe was “an icon, a legend, a storyteller and the best dad for girls.”
A few months later, in September 2021, Natalia opened up To Teen Vogue about the processing of the loss. She revealed she gave up volleyball and her dreams of being a D1 athlete after the deaths because “There was a lot going on back then” At the time, she also opened up about how her remaining family members — Vanessa, Bianka, and Capri — were doing.
“You’re doing the best you can,” Bryant told Teen Vogue. “[For] my little sisters [we’re] try to keep that memory for them. And just try to remind yourself to live each day the way you would.”
As previously reported, a California helicopter crash in January 2020 claimed nine lives, including Kobe and Gianna. Earlier this month, Vanessa settled a lawsuit against Los Angeles County over the sheriff’s and fire department officials’ dissemination of the crash site and photos of the victims. Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka and Capri will receive $28.85 million of the more than $50 million payout that LA County will pay out to four affected families.
At the TCL Chinese Theater ceremony, Natalia was accompanied by her mother and two little sisters. After the reveal Bianka and Capri put her hands and feet in her father’s prints, per NBC Los Angeles.
In her speech, Natalia encouraged theatergoers “Location [their] Put your hands in his and take a moment to stand in his shoes.”
“Dad, you are an icon, a legend, a storyteller and most importantly the best dad a young woman could ever dream of,” Bryant said. “I am honored to be here to represent you and our family and we are very proud of you. We will love you forever and ever. Dear Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri and Mommy.