LOS ANGELES — Vanessa Bryant posted a heartfelt message Friday on Instagram to honor her daughter Gianna, on what would have been her 14th birthday.
“Gigi” and her father, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, died along with seven others on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles in Calabasas, California.
“Happy 14th Birthday to my sweet baby girl, Gianna,” the Instagram post said. “Mommy loves you more than I can ever show you. You are part of MY SOUL forever. I miss you so much everyday. I wish I could wake up and have you here with me. I miss your smile, your hugs and your giggles. I miss EVERYTHING about YOU, Gigi. I LOVE YOU so much!!!!!!!”
Gigi was a rising basketball star of her own and was hoping to play for the renowned UConn women’s basketball team.
Vanessa also asked everyone to consider wearing red on Friday in memory of Gianna.
“Gianna loved to wear a red bow in all of her school pictures. Red means love and life. To commemorate Gigi’s birthday today, please consider wearing red, caption an act of kindness or show how you will play Gigi’s way since she always gave everything she did her all and led with kindness,” Bryant explained.
Gigi and two other girls killed in the crash, Alyssa Altobelli and Paton Chester, were named honorary WNBA draft picks last month.
“Thank you so much for honoring my Gigi and for selecting her to be an honorary draft pick this year,” Vanessa said during the virtual draft. “It would have been a dream come true for her.”
At the time of the crash, the NTSB said the helicopter was flying in foggy conditions considered dangerous enough that local police agencies grounded their choppers.
John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser and Ara Zobayan also died in the crash.
July 26, 2018 Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna watch during the U.S. national championships swimming meet in Irvine, Calif. (AP)