Vanessa Bryant once again hit everyone right in their hearts after her Hall of Fame speech honoring late husband Kobe Bryant. Michael Jordan inducted the Los Angeles Lakers icon into the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, but all eyes were on the widow of Bryant who lost her husband and daughter, Gianna, a little over a year ago in a tragic helicopter crash.
"I used to always avoid praising my husband in public because I felt like he got enough praise from his fans. Along the road someone had to bring him back to reality. Right now I am sure he is laughing in heaven because I'm about to praise him in public for his accomplishments on one of the most public stages," Bryant said while accepting the honor, according to Entertainment Tonight. "I can see him now, arms folded, with a huge grin saying, 'Isn't this some s—t?'"
Take a moment and listen to this...Powerful stuff from Vanessa Bryant. 🙏🙏🙏May 16, 2021
"I wish my husband was here to accept this incredible award. He and Gigi deserve to go here to witness this. Gigi would be so proud to watch her daddy get enshrined into the basketball Hall of Fame," Bryant continued. "I know he was looking forward to being here. He asked the hall of fame to specifically add a sixth ticket for a Capri. He was so happy."
Bryant revealed soon after that she didn't have any prepared remarks, honoring her husband in that arena too by working from the seat of her pants. She shared that his proudest accomplishment was being the "very best girl dad." She also made clear who he'd thank if he was there himself.
"He was intelligent, eloquent, and gifted at many things, including public speaking. However, I do know that he would thank everyone that helped him get here, including the people that doubted him and the people that worked against him and told him he couldn't attain his goals. He would thank all of them for motivating him to be here. After all, he proved you wrong," she said.
Vanessa Bryant ended her speech by thanking her daughters, Natalia and Gianna, for "sacrificing" time away from their father. She also Bianka and Capri for being there, being sure to let them know their father loved them. But the main praise was for Kobe.
Amazing Hall of Fame tribute video for Kobe. 🙏
(via @NBA)May 15, 2021
"Dear Kobe, thank you for being the best husband and father you could possibly be. Thank you for growing and learning from your own mistakes. Thank you for always trying to do better. Thank you for never giving up on us. Thank you for all of your hard work. Thank you for our family. Thank you for our daughters. Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, and Capri. Thank you for working so tirelessly to provide for us and for giving us the most amazing life together," she said. "Thank you enough to last five times, and every lifetime I choose you," Bryant said.
Bryant was inducted posthumously alongside nine others, including fellow NBA stars Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. Bryant's induction was already sealed before his untimely death, but sped up to honor the star following the accident.