Vanessa Bryant was joined by her daughters, Natalia, 20, Bianka, 6, and Capri, 3, as they unveiled a special tribute to her husband, the late Kobe Bryant.
The NBA superstar, who tragically died in a helicopter crash in January 26, 2020, with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, now has his handprints and footprints permanently displayed in front of Hollywood’s famous TCL Chinese Theatre.
On Wednesday, March 15, Vanessa Bryant and her daughters attended a ceremony where the memorial was revealed. Plenty of celebrities such as Jamie Lee Curtis and Regina King have their imprints on display at the historic location, but they are frequently switched out and replaced with different sets. The Los Angeles Lakers star will be the first icon to have his footprints and handprints forever placed in the TCL Chinese Theatre’s public forecourt.
His slab of concrete includes the original date he made the prints, Feb. 19. 2011, as well as “#24” to represent one of his famous Lakers jersey numbers. Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles team before retiring in 2016.
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Daughters Bianka and Capri placed their hands and feet on top of their father’s prints as the family posed for photos at the event. The Bryants were joined by Lakers president Jeanie Buss and former NBA head coach Byron Scott as they all celebrated the late athlete’s legacy.
Oldest daughter Natalia also gave a speech at the ceremony, NBC’s Los Angeles affiliate reported.
“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,” she said. “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 continued, “He is the reason I am pursuing film in college. 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. This all brings me to this moment now, which makes honoring my dad here 10 times more special and personal to me in so many ways.”
The University of Southern California sophomore and model then spoke to her father’s fans who will stop by the popular tourist attraction.
“As you visit here for years to come, I encourage you to place your hands in his and take a moment to stand in his shoes,” she said.
Buss shared some remarks about Kobe Bryant, too. She recalled the shooting guard joining the Lakers in 1996.
“He wove his way into the tapestry of this city in a way no sports fan or even non sports fan will ever forget,” Buss said. “The numbers tell a story. More than 33,000 points. A first-ballot Hall of Famer. An Oscar and Emmy winner. And, most important to him, a five-time NBA champion. All of them won with the same team.”
During his speech, Scott said he imagined Bryant looking down on everyone and smiling at his accomplishments. The fellow Lakers star said Bryant would say, “Coach, first of all, I told you I was going to be one of the greatest.”
The TCL Chinese Theatre honored Bryant in the past. In 2011, he became the first athlete to have his hands and feet imprinted there.
Jimmy Kimmel, George Lopez, Penny Marshall, Buss and Lakers coach Phil Jackson attended the ceremony with Bryant, ESPN reported at the time.
“This is a tremendous honor,” Bryant told the crowd. “I feel extremely honored to be able to do this. It’s never something I actually thought about when I was watching movies. I never thought my hand and foot prints would be sitting right here at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.” The landmark was renamed in 2013.
Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among the nine people killed in the 2020 helicopter crash in the Los Angeles area. Earlier this year, Vanessa Bryant reached a nearly $30 million settlement with Los Angeles County regarding photos that were shared from the scene of the deadly accident.
This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY: