Vanessa Bryant made her first public appearance during the public memorial for her late husband and daughter, Kobe and Gianna Bryant, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 24. She gave an unforgettable and heartbreaking speech that immediately went viral. However, Vanessa almost did not speak at the public memorial.
E! Online reports, Vanessa's eulogy wasn't confirmed. A source said, "Vanessa Bryant's speech was always tentative until the very last minute.”
Before Jimmy Kimmel introduced her, Vanesssa reportedly gave him a "signal" to indicate whether she would speak or not. The source told E!, "She, of course, was prepared with her speech either way, but keeping her tentative was a matter of how emotional she was and how comfortable she felt in that moment to make the speech. Nobody knew if she was going to do it until [Jimmy] actually announced her."
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Bryant’s powerful words were unforgettable. “Kobe was known as a fierce competitor on the basketball court, an Oscar winner, a writer and the Black Mamba. But to me, he was Kob Kob... my papi chulo...I couldn’t see him as a celebrity nor as an incredible basketball player,” Vanessa said. “He was my everything. Kobe and I had been together since I was 17 and a half years old. I was his first girlfriend, his wife, his best friend, his protector, his confidant….We balanced each other out.”
Watch the full speech below:
Vanessa Bryant recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Fillmore-based Island Express Holding Corp. and Island Express Helicopter, the owners of the helicopter company in the crash that killed Kobe and Gianna.
Seven other people were also killed on January 26 while taking a helicopter to the Mamba Academy for basketball practice in nearby Thousand Oaks.