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The 18-year-old, who is the eldest daughter of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant, discussed the importance of keeping memories of the former basketball star alive during an interview with Teen Vogue for the magazine’s September 2021 cover.
“I love talking about my dad. It’s bittersweet, but I enjoy talking about him more than it’s sad for me,” Bryant said, adding elsewhere in the interview that the basketball legend was “just like the best girl dad ever”.
One memory that stands out, according to Bryant, occurred when she and her father went to a midnight showing of the 2019 Star Wars film Rise of Skywalker.
“He was just letting me play my playlist and jam out to Taylor Swift the whole ride back, and talk about Star Wars too. It was so much fun,” Bryant recalled.
According to Bryant, who had wanted to play volleyball in college before the tragic helicopter accident that killed her father and sister, another father-daughter experience she looks back on fondly is of her and Kobe sitting courtside to watch two of the best volleyball teams.
“That was an especially cool moment that I got to experience with him, and sit courtside, and watch two of the top teams. They were going at it. I was in awe watching them,” she said.
However, Bryant said she ultimately decided not to continue playing volleyball after the loss of her father and sister, explaining: “I quit volleyball after the accident because I was so … a lot was going on at that time. I knew I didn’t … love volleyball as much as they love basketball. I’m okay with that.”
Kobe and Gianna, who was 13 years old, died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
In addition to helping her remember her father and sister, Bryant revealed that her determination to honouring their memories stems from a desire to support her family, including her younger sisters, Bianka, four, and Capri, two.
“You do the best that you can,” Bryant said when asked about how her family is coping. “[For] my little sisters [we’re] trying to keep that memory for them. And also just trying to remember to live out every day the way they would.”
Bryant has previously shared some of her favourite memories of her late father on social media, with the 18-year-old celebrating Kobe’s birthday in 2020 with a throwback photo showing him tickling his eldest daughter.
“Happy Birthday Dad. I miss your smile, laugh and big bear hugs. Happy birthday to the best movie buddy I could have ever asked for. I will always remember our late night drives to the movie theater with the windows rolled down and listening to our favourite songs. I love you forever and always,” Bryant captioned the photo.