“To our girls, Natalia and Gianna, thank you for sacrificing so much time away from daddy so that he could focus on being the best at everything he set his mind,” she added. “He loves you girls so very much. Congratulations, baby. All of your hard work and sacrifices paid off. You once told me, ‘If you are going to bet on someone, bet on yourself.’ I’m glad you bet on yourself, your overachiever. You did it. You’re in the hall of fame now.”
She concluded, “You’re a true champ. You’re not just an MVP. You’re an all-time great. I’m so proud of you. I love you forever and always. Kobe Bryant.”
In addition to Kobe’s posthumous honor, the ceremony also inducted basketball stars, the late Patrick Baumann, Tamika Catchings, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton and Rudy Tomjanovich.
Moreover, Kobe’s life was celebrated during the In Memoriam portion of the ceremony, in which footage appeared onscreen of the 41-year-old star. Ne-Yo performed “Incredible” during the segment.
On Friday, May 14, Vanessa and Natalia honored Kobe at the Tip-Off Celebration and Awards Gala, a preliminary event for the induction ceremony. They were presented with the basketball icon’s posthumous red 2020 Hall of Fame jacket and ring, which Vanessa placed on Natalia as the crowd chanted her dad’s name.