Vanessa Bryant speaks publicly
NEW YORK (AP) — Vanessa Bryant spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time since the helicopter crash that killed her husband Kobe Bryant, one of their daughters and seven others, taking to Instagram to thank people for the global outpouring of support since the tragedy.
She also announced the formation of a fund to help support the other families that were affected by the crash.
“Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them,” Vanessa Bryant wrote. “We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately.”
The Bryants would have celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary this April. They had four daughters including Gianna, the 13-year-old who died in the crash.
In El Segundo, Calif., the Los Angeles Lakers ended practice with a few somber, almost plaintive laughs. As they left the court, they all passed under the oversized 8 and 24 outlined in white on the black wall above the door to their locker room.
Anthony Davis and several other Lakers paused and looked up at Kobe Bryant’s two retired numbers for a moment before they moved forward.
The Lakers are still grieving and mourning Bryant’s death Sunday in a helicopter crash along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others. Los Angeles’ players and coaches returned to work Wednesday at their training complex with a determination to keep Bryant and the victims in their thoughts while getting on with the business of basketball and life.
“We want to represent what Kobe was about, more than anything,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We’ve always wanted to make him proud, and that’s not going to be any different now.”