Entertainment

Vanessa Bryant Said It Was ‘Love At First Sight’ When She First Met Kobe

Vanessa Bryant says love at first sight is very real.

The wife of the late NBA great recently revealed that it happened to her the very first time she met Kobe Bryant 21 years ago.

Over the weekend, Bryant shared a photo of her and the former LA Laker while visiting Disneyland.

Last Friday, Bryant celebrated the 21st anniversary of the day she and Kobe met. She captioned the Instagram post writing “Love at first sight 11/27/99 #21.”

Vanessa and Kobe met in 1999 during a music video shoot while she was still in high school and he was 20 years old. The couple became engaged when she turned 18, announced their engagement at her 18th birthday party, and the Bryants married in April 2001.

In 2013, Kobe shared a picture of the day they met on Instagram.

“On this day 20 years ago I met my best friend, my Queen @vanessabryant I decided to take her on a date to Disneyland tonight to celebrate old school style (pre 4princesses) I love you my mamacita per sempre,” Kobe wrote in the Instagram post at the time.

After their 2001 message, Kobe and Vanessa had four daughters together, Natalia, 17, Gianna, 13, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 1. Tragically, in January, Bryant and Gianna passed away in a helicopter crash alongside seven others.

Last year, Kobe also reflected on the day he met his “best friend,” posting a throwback pic along with the Disneyland snap.

“On this day 20 years ago I met my best friend, my Queen @vanessabryant,” he captioned his post at the time. “I decided to take her on a date to Disneyland tonight to celebrate old school style (pre 4princesses) I love you my mamacita per sempre.”

It’s not the first time Vanessa honored her husband since his death. In October, the former model and philanthropist honored her husband and daughter with tattoos.

Speaking about her loss, Vanessa’s friend La La Anthony told Entertainment Today that she’s done her best to stay strong.

“Well, you know, I’m a real friend, that’s what friends do,” Anthony told ET in September. “You know, you don’t dip out on your friends when it gets really hard. And she’s going through something that is unimaginable, that, you know, I can’t even fathom what that feels like. So, just to be a friend and be there to make her laugh when she needs to, cry when she needs to, is a beautiful thing. But that’s what friends do for each other, you know, so I’m always going to be there for her and the girls and just, you know, want to see her just continue to be strong and amazing.”

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Vanessa Bryant Celebrates Like A Proud Mom As Daughter Natalia Announces She’s Going To USC

Entertainment

Vanessa Bryant Celebrates Like A Proud Mom As Daughter Natalia Announces She’s Going To USC

STEPHEN DUNN / GETTY

The Bryant Family has been through a lot since losing the Black Mamba along with 13-year-old Gianna. But despite the trauma, they’ve been working hard to maintain a sense of normalcy for themselves and a huge part of that, for 18-year-old Natalia, has been getting into college.

Well, now Natalia along with her very proud mother and fans around the world are celebrating her accomplishments as she’s announced that she’s been accepted into the University of Southern California (USC.)

Kobe Bryant’s daughter Natalia is going to USC and her family couldn’t be more proud!

It looks like Kobe Bryant’s daughter is going to become a Trojan. Natalia Bryant was accepted into the University of Southern California on Tuesday to the excitement and delight of her closest family and friends. Vanessa Bryant shared emotional footage of the moment Natalia found out she got into the LA-based university and expressed her pride and joy in her oldest daughter.

“Tears of joy. I’m SO happy for you Nani! I know daddy is so PROUD OF YOU. I am so PROUD OF YOU!! Your hard work and dedication was so worth it,” Vanessa captioned the video.

“You pushed through the most excruciating pain imaginable and you succeeded. I wish Daddy and Gigi were physically here to celebrate but I know they’re here in spirit. We love you so much! #USC #Trojan #FightOn

Proud mamacita even had custom USC Black Mamba Nikes made for the celebration.

In the other Vanessa video, she showed off all the gifts she gave Natalia for the accomplishment, and they included balloons, USC swag and some custom Trojan-themed Kobe kicks.

Her USC acceptance comes on the heels of another big announcement for the 18-year-old.

The past few weeks have been full of great news for Natalia. She just recently announced that she had been accepted into both Loyola Marymount and University of Oregon, but recently confirmed she would be headed to USC in the fall.

“See You Soon @uscedu !❤️💛” she captioned a photo of herself wearing a USC baseball hat and shirt. “Fight On✌🏽”

And it was just a few weeks ago that news came that she signed with IMG Models.

“I have always been interested in fashion since a very young age,” Natalia said in a statement. “I have a love for the industry and ever since I can remember I wanted to model. There is a lot to learn but I feel this is a great opportunity for me to learn and express myself creatively.”

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The Bryant Family Has Filed Trademarks For ‘Mamba, Mambacita’ Amidst Apparel Line Reports

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The Bryant Family Has Filed Trademarks For ‘Mamba, Mambacita’ Amidst Apparel Line Reports

Elsa / Gelsons

Since the tragic deaths of her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant, Vanessa Bryant has made her mission to secure and preserve their legacy an obvious one. From pursuing justice for theirs and the other victims of the helicopter crash that took their lives, to ensuring the creation of memorials in their name, Bryant has made a point of making sure none of the victims of the fateful crash are forgotten.

More recently, Vanessa Bryant has set out to protect the ‘Mamba’ brand.

According to a recent report, an attorney for Bryant filed a trademark application for ‘Mamba’ and ‘Mambacita’ in early March.

While there’s little known about what Bryant intends to do with the brand names, the report suggests that the current agenda is to use the trademark for merchandise such as shirts, hoodies, jackets, and pants.

Kobe’s estate has filed for several trademarks related to his brand including ‘Mamba Sports Academy,’ ‘Mambacita,’ ‘Lady Mambas,’ and ‘Lil Mambas.’ 

The association with Bryant and the “Mamba” concept goes back to his days on the court where he was affectionately known as the Black Mamba. Bryant gave himself the nickname after a period of struggle. In a 2015 documentary called Muse, Kobe explained that he created the alter ego of Black Mamba to cope with off-the-court struggles in 2003.

“I went from a person who was at the top of his game, had everything coming, to a year later, having absolutely no idea where life is going or if you are even going to be a part of life as we all know it,” Bryant explained in the documentary. “I had to separate myself… It felt like there were so many things coming at once. It was just becoming very, very confusing. I had to organize things. So I created The Black Mamba.”

The Mamba name carried into his retirement when he left the NBA after twenty years. At the time, Bryant set out to coach and mentor younger children interested in sports at the Mamba Sports Academy, a training facility that he opened in California. Bryant’s daughter Gianna, 13, was a member of the Mambas girl’s team.

When the Bryants’ daughter Gianna began to come into her own on the basketball court, she took on the nickname “Mambacita.” 

On a recent cover feature for People Magazine, Vanessa Bryant explained that she’s found motivation in her devastating loss.

During an interview for the magazine’s ‘Women Changing the World’ issue, Bryant revaled “This pain is unimaginable [but] you just have to get up and push forward. Lying in bed crying isn’t going to change the fact that my family will never be the same again. But getting out of bed and pushing forward is going to make the day better for my girls and for me. So that’s what I do.”

Bryant also recently reportedly took over Granity Studios, her husband’s multimedia company, and also relaunched Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation which is focused on “creating positive impact for underserved athletes and young women in sports” and “provides funding and sports programming for underserved athletes to enable participation in school and/or league sports that enrich socio-emotional and physical development.”

Speaking to People about her efforts, Bryant explained, “I guess the best way to describe it is that Kobe and Gigi motivate me to keep going. They inspire me to try harder and be better every day. Their love is unconditional and they motivate me in so many different ways.”

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