Vanessa Bryant Says 'It Should Have Been Me' in Heartbreaking Tribute for Kobe Bryant's 42nd Birthday

Kobe Bryant's birthday was on Sunday, and Vanessa Bryant paid tribute to him in an emotional Instagram post. Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna and seven other people in January, and in Vanessa's post, she mentioned how she wished this was all just a dream. Vanessa also said that it "should've been me" so she wouldn't have to feel the pain she's feeling now.

"I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare," Vanessa wrote, who is also mom to 17-year-old Natalia, 3-year-old Bianka and 1-year-old Capri. "I wish I could surprise our girls and welcome you and Gigi home to us. I’m mad I didn’t go first. I always wanted to go first so that I selfishly didn't have to feel this heartache. You were supposed to miss me. Gigi was supposed to be here with her sisters. It should've been me."

Vanessa began the post by wishing Kobe happy birthday and then wrote "I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain." She then went on to detail what she misses about the Los Angeles Lakers legend the most.

"I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh," Vanessa stated. "I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are. I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way." She also thanked Kobe for "growing up with me and teaching me how to be strong."

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Vanessa ended the post by writing: "Thank you for loving me enough to last several lifetimes. In every lifetime I would choose YOU. Thank you for showing me what real love is. Thank YOU for everything. I know my Gigi is celebrating you like she always has on our special days. I miss my thoughtful princess so much! Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri and I wish you a happy birthday my love. I love you for now, forever and for always."

Many celebrities have paid tribute to Kobe on his birthday, but the celebration will continue all week as Monday is declared Kobe Bryant Day in Los Angeles. Also, Nike has declared this week Mamba Week, which will include programming and product launches to honor the five-time NBA champion.