TODAY, 8/24, is Mamba Day.
And what a day to wake up to heartfelt birthday messages for Kobe Bryant, who passed away in an untimely helicopter accident earlier this year, and whose birthday falls on August 23.
His wife, Vanessa Bryant, posted a heartbreaking letter for Kobe on her private Instagram page. Her message, in part, read, “I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh. I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are. I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way."
Kobe was the father of four daughters: Gianna (who perished in the helicopter crash with him), Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and 14-month-old Capri.
To open its Mamba Week commemorations, Nike released a video tribute narrated by rapper Kendrick Lamar. “Kobe taught us to be better,” begins the monologue.
The Lakers reposted the Nike tribute, then followed that with a supercut of its most famous son’s great shots.
LeBron James uploaded a very old video of Kobe’s 30th birthday celebration. “Happy Bday my brother!! Miss you man!!” he wrote.
Good friend and teammate Pau Gasol — who has spent time taking care of Kobe’s kids — also posted a throwback pic. “I miss you and Gigi so much brother. I will always be thankful for how much you have impacted my life in so many different ways,” he wrote on Instagram, adding the hashtags #Hermano and #Familia.
Scottie Pippen posted a Blazers-era pic of himself and Kobe. Interestingly enough, the Blazers and the Lakers are currently locked in a first-round playoff battle.
The NBA posted its own tribute. Various teams — and not just the Lakers — also wished Kobe a happy birthday.
The Lakers’ sister team in the MLB took to the field wearing Kobe jersey in their game against the Colorado Rockies.