It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles. It was a tragedy that shocked not only the NBA community, but the world at large, as Kobe’s enormous influence was put in stark relief after his passing.
Many are clearly still processing the grief from such an unimaginable tragedy, so it wasn’t a surprise that his wife Vanessa, on behalf of the Bryant family, asked that the NBA not flood the airwaves with tributes on the one-year anniversary on Tuesday. Still, it was inevitable that his many fans, teammates, and peers around the league would find ways to pay homage one of the NBA’s all-time greats.
Chief among them was former Lakers center Pau Gasol, who won a pair of championships alongside Bryant and forged a friendship that has practically made them part of one another’s family. On Tuesday, Pau took to Instagram to post a moving tribute to his friend and his daughter, the loss of whom will continue to reverberate for years to come.
Pau was one of Kobe’s many running mates throughout his career, and though Kobe famously clashed with several of them, his partnership with Pau was easily one of the most amicable and most successful. As such, their families have maintained a close relationship throughout the years, and Pau even gave his daughter the middle name Gianna as a way to honor Gigi’s memory.