Vanessa Bryant, the widow of the late Kobe Bryant, just showed off a heartwarming photo for fans on social media. She cuddled up to the daughter of Pau Gasol, a former teammate of Bryant in Los Angeles. The moment was extra special given that Gasol and his wife paid tribute to Vanessa's late daughter, Gianna, with the newborn's name, Ellie Gianna Gasol.
Vanessa posted a photo on Instagram that showed her cradling the young child in her arms. The little girl appeared to be on the edge of drifting off while a stuffed giraffe and a pacifier sat next to her face. Vanessa simply looked down and smiled at her goddaughter. "My goddaughter Ellie Gianna [heart emoji]" she wrote in the caption of the post.
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Gasol and his wife, Catherine McDonnell, welcomed their daughter in September 2020. They posted a photo that showed their hands up close. A newborn's hand gripped their fingers. The couple also showed them in the hospital room smiling for the camera.
"Our little one has finally arrived!! The delivery went really well and we couldn't be happier!! Elisabet Gianna Gasol [heart eyes emoji], a very meaningful name for our super beautiful daughter!!" the former Lakers star wrote in his Instagram post.
McDonnell also posted her own message after giving birth to the newborn. "She made a quick and easy entrance on a VERY special day, her great-grandmother Elizabeth's 100th birthday and her mom and dad's 2nd engagement anniversary. [pink heart emoji] We are already so in love with our sweet Ellie!! [purple heart emoji]," McDonnell wrote.
Before revealing the newborn's name, Gasol and McDonnell sent Vanessa a special gift on a very difficult day. They had a special cake delivered on what would have been Gianna's birthday. The white and gold cake featured a birthday message, multi-colored butterfly decorations and a banner with Gianna's "Mambacita" nickname.
Gasol was Kobe's teammate from 2008 to 2014, and the duo helped the Los Angeles Lakers win two NBA championships during that span. Gasol has remained very close to the Bryant family and has often spent time with Vanessa and her daughters. He dressed up as Chewbacca from Star Wars on Halloween and joined the family for a massive group photo. His size was beneficial considering that he towered over all of the other people in the photo. He also celebrated Bianka Bryant's birthday with a heartfelt post on Instagram.