Natalia Bryant, Kobe’s oldest daughter, was in attendance for the public memorial service on Monday, February 24, at the Staples Center, along with her mother, Vanessa, and two younger sisters, Bianka and Capri. She was never pictured during the livestream of the event, and did not get up to speak throughout the memorial.
As the memorial got underway on Monday, no photos or videos were released of the Bryant family entering the Staples Center. What’s more, Vanessa had not confirmed that her family would be attending the public memorial on her Instagram, prior to the event. However, several publications had still reported that they were expected to attend. The rumors were confirmed when Vanessa got on stage and delivering a heartbreaking eulogy for her daughter, and then her husband.
After Vanessa gave her eulogy, many of those watching took to social media to show support for her, along with Natalia, who wasn’t seen on camera much. Vanessa and Natalia did appear in a video on Twitter walking out of the arena.
Understandably, the majority of media focus on Bryant’s legacy as a father following his death has been focused on his relationship to Gianna. During her eulogy, though, Vanessa highlighted Bryant’s relationship with his three other daughters. She said in part, “[Kobe] wanted Natalia to take over his company and he wanted to travel the world together. We talked about how we would be the fun grandparents to our daughters’ children. He would have been the coolest grandpa.”
She said at another point,
He shared a love of movies and breakdown of films with Natalia. He enjoyed renting out theaters and taking Natalia to watch the newest “Star Wars” movie or “Harry Potter” films. They would have movie marathons and he enjoyed every second of it. He loved the typical tearjerkers, too, and he loved watching “Stepmom,” Steel Magnolias,” and “Little Women.” He had a tender heart.
You can read Vanessa’s entire, heartbreaking eulogy for her daughter and husband here.
Natalia turned 17 years old a week before the helicopter crash that killed her father and younger sister, Gianna. Following his death, she was subjected to cruel internet hoaxes which falsely stated she had died, some even going so far as to allege she died by suicide.
Natalia has kept quiet in the weeks following the tragic deaths of her two immediate family members.
Here’s what you need to know:
Natalia Doesn’t Have Public Social Media Accounts; She Has Since Been the Subject of Internet Death Hoaxes Like Her Mother
Natalia Bryant is Bryant’s eldest daughter. She was born in 2003, while Bryant was at the peak of his NBA career.
For her 17th birthday, Kobe wrote to his daughter, “Happy Birthday my baby. I love you beyond measure. You will always be my little Principessa #17.”
In 2003, Bryant spoke with Jet Magazine about being a new father to Natalia, who was three months old when he gave the interview. Of fatherhood and being a husband, Bryant said, “I’ve learned how to be patient. Patience and listening, you must have those in a relationship [and to be a good father].”
He added that when he wasn’t playing basketball, he was at his house “messing around with my wife and Natalia all day pretty much. Reading to her, watching TV, jumping her up and down. She follows and she smiles.”
Since Bryant’s death, both Natalia and her mother have been the subject of cruel internet death hoaxes, in which a rumor intentionally spreads about their apparent death. Specifically, a video began to circulate the internet around February 18, saying that Natalia had died by suicide.
A Snopes report debunking the rumor reads in part, “A video report made up to look like it came from BBC News was widely circulated on social media. While this video carried the BBC logo, it was published on suspicious looking websites, such as w0rldnews.g0ldenbuzzers.com and t0pstories.caldomns.com, which have absolutely no affiliation with the British Broadcasting Corporation.”
Natalia has given no public statement regarding her father’s death. She doesn’t have her own social media pages, either.
Natalia, 17, attends Sage Hill High School in Los Angeles, California, according to an NBA fan page. She plays volleyball avidly; her father frequently attended her games throughout his retirement.