Vanessa Bryant delivered a beautiful and emotional speech as Kobe Bryant was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on May 15. She spoke in her late husband’s honor, remembering the life and legacy of the Lakers athlete after his tragic death last year. Supported onstage by Michael Jordan, Vanessa made a point to thank Kobe’s fans, teammates, family, and competition, but she ultimately sent the majority of her gratitude to Kobe himself.
In an especially emotional part of her speech, Vanessa read a personal note she wrote for her husband. “Dear Kobe, thank you for being the best husband and father you can possibly be,” she recited. “Thank you for growing and learning from your own mistakes. Thank you for always trying to be better. Thank you for never giving up on us. Thank you for all of your hard work. Thank you for our family, thank you for our daughters Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, and Capri. Thank you for working so tirelessly to provide for us and for giving us the most amazing life together.
“Thank you for waking up at 4 a.m. to train, making it home to kiss me good morning and for dropping our girls off at school — only to go to practice, come home and pick up our girls from school whenever you could. Thank you for never missing a birthday, a dance recital, a school award show, show-and-tell or any games our daughters played in if your schedule permitted.
“Thank you for loving me enough to last lifetimes, and every lifetime I choose you.
“Thank you for putting your love for our family first. Thank you for bringing so much joy to our lives and joy to the people around the world. Thank you for inspiring us to be better than we were the day before. Thank you for teaching me, and all of us, to put someone else’s joy before our own. Thank you for being so selfless and loving with a heart of gold. Thank you for never taking yourself too seriously. Thank you for your sense of humor, thank you for your wit.
“Thank you for never telling me no and always letting me have my way most of the time. Thank you for being patient and easygoing. Thank you for letting me burst your bubble every chance I got. Thank you for graciously taking all my harsh comebacks, thank you for dishing them back. Thank you for being the Mickey to my Minnie, the Noah to my Allie. Thank you for loving me enough to last lifetimes, and every lifetime I choose you.”
Vanessa concluded her remarks by addressing her daughters. She first thanked Natalia, and her late daughter, Gigi, for all the support and sacrifice they made while their dad worked tirelessly. Vanessa also ensured Bianka and Capri, who attended the ceremony with her, knew how much Kobe loved them. Watch Vanessa’s speech in its entirety, above.