Natalia Bryant paid an emotional tribute to her late dad Kobe Bryant at a ceremony in Hollywood this week.
The former Lakers player became the first athlete to have his hands and feet imprinted at The TCL Chinese Theatre in February 2011. On Wednesday, Natalia Bryant, 20, as well as her mother Vanessa Bryant and sisters Bianka, 6, and Capri, 3, gathered at the venue to honor his legacy, unveiling Kobe Bryant's handprints and footprints, which are now on permanent display in front of the theater.
"While most people knew him as a basketball player or a storyteller, I got to know and love him as my dad," Natalia Bryant said in a speech. "And let me tell you, he is the MVP of girl dads, to say the least. Being a dad of four girls is definitely not easy, but despite the NBA and Lakers schedules, he always made sure to support me and my sisters."
She then recalled memories with her father, attributing her love of cinema to him. "One may wonder why I developed such a fondness for movies like 'Star Wars,' 'Harry Potter,' the complete Marvel universe and 'Goonies,' amongst many others. Well, the reason behind it is that I watched all of these movies with my dad, and each of those memories I will never forget," she said.
- 2March 10, 2020
"He is the reason I am pursuing film in college," she continued. "And he is the reason film has inspired me to create memories like ours, for other people to even bring more fathers and daughters together like us."
After reflecting on her father's other achievements, Natalia Bryant said it was "only fitting" that he be "the very first athlete to get their hand and footprints displayed here, in the city of Los Angeles."
"This day symbolizes the impact that he has had on a city that he loved and cared for so deeply," she said.
She concluded her speech by calling her father "an icon, a legend, a storyteller and, most importantly, the best girl dad any young woman could ever dream of."
Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Jan. 26, 2020. The other victims of the crash included college baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa; girls basketball coach Christina Mauser; Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton; and the pilot, Ara Zobayan.
Last August, a jury awarded Vanessa Bryant $16 million in her lawsuit against Los Angeles County over photos taken at the scene of the crash and shared publicly. Following the trial, her lawyer said she would be donating the proceeds to the Mamba and Mambacita Foundation "to shine a light on Kobe and Gigi's legacy."
According to court documents filed before the verdict, county officials denied that photos from the crash site were shared under their supervision.