After Kobe Bryant's older sister, Sharia Washington paid tribute to him and her niece, Gianna following their unexpected deaths with a commemorative tattoo, the artist responsible for inking the doting sister is sharing a message of gratitude in the days since. Taking to his Instagram on Friday, tattoo artist, Peter Barrios is thanking the late NBA icon's sister for her recent social media share of the image, which has sparked enthusiasm and thanks from fans all over.
View this post on Instagram
"Thank you so much [Sharia Washington] for helping my career expanded and showing the world what we did together," Barrios captioned the series of snapshots featuring text messages between he and Washington, and news stories. "I am thankful for your friendship and will always be a friend to you. For tattoos and making you laugh. I pray for your strength and for the strength of your family. [prayer hands emoji] meeting you was truly a blessing. I am proud to being a [girl dad]," he wrote alongside a string of hashtags, including "Black Mamba," "blessed" and "my friend."
Washington took to Instagram on Wednesday to reveal a photo of her new tattoo, situated on her left shoulder blade in memory of Bryant and Gianna, featuring a black mamba snake wrapped in an infinity symbol around the numbers 2 and 24 — the father and daughter duo's respective basketball jersey numbers. The snake itself represents the Black Mamba, Bryant's nickname.
Bryant's wife, Vanessa Bryant issued her own praise for the tattoo honoring her husband and daughter, taking to Instagram with the message: "My sister-in-law got this cool tattoo to honor #GigiBryant and #Kobe) [heart emoji] 2~24 forever. Love you [Sharia Washington]."
Washington and Bryant's other sister, Shaya Tabb released a statement days mourning the loss of both their brother and niece in the days after the shocking helicopter crash that killed the two and seven others.
"On behalf of our family, we join Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka and Capri in grieving the loss of Kobe and Gianna in such a tragic accident. We are devastated by the loss of our brother, son, our niece and granddaughter, and our hearts go out to all the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday. Our lives are forever changed. Thank you for the prayers, the numerous calls, texts, emails and cards," the statement read.
Bryant and Gianna were honored at the massive Celebration of Life service at the Staples Center, Feb. 24. While Bryant's sisters and parents attended the memorial, they did not speak. Bryant reportedly had a complicated relationship with his family — his parents in particular — although that seemed to be on the mend at the time of his death.
At the memorial, Bryant's wife and Gianna's mother, Vanessa was among the many to speak about the two, offering a heartbreaking eulogy in their memory.
"They were so easy to love. Everyone naturally gravitated toward them. They were funny, happy, silly and they loved life. They were so full of joy and adventure," Vanessa said toward the end of her eulogy. "God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together. Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nati, Bibi and Koko. We're still the best team.
She concluded her message: "We love and miss you, Boo Boo and Gigi. May you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day. We love you both and miss you. Forever and always. Mommy."
Photo credit: Getty Images