LOS ANGELES (NewsNation) — Family, friends and fellow athletes paid tribute to Kobe Bryant on what would have been his 42nd birthday Sunday, just one day before the newly declared Kobe Bryant day in Orange County and the city of Los Angeles.
His wife, Vanessa Bryant, posted an Instagram tribute to her late husband.
“I picture your smile and wide big welcoming hugs daily. God I miss you both so much. Our lives feel so empty without you and Gigi,” she wrote. “I’ve been completely broken inside. As much as I want to cry, I put a smile on my face to make our daughters days shine a little brighter. I’m not the strong one, they are.”
“I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare. I wish I could surprise our girls and welcome you and Gigi home to us” Vanessa Bryant said. “I’m mad I didn’t go first. I always wanted to go first so that I selfishly didn’t have to feel this heartache.”
Bryant was killed with eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, when a helicopter crashed and caught fire on a hillside outside of Los Angeles on Jan. 26, 2020.
After the crash, murals honoring the crash victims appeared across the world. Fans came together for a massive makeshift memorial near the Staples Center.
The day after his birthday, Aug. 24, is “Kobe Bryant Day,” as designated by the L.A. City Council back in 2016. Orange County supervisors also declared Monday “Kobe Bryant Day” earlier this month.
Nike on Sunday released a video narrated by Kendrick Lamar to honor the NBA great on his birthday.
And during “Mamba Week,” Nike is re-releasing the “Black Mamba” Lakers City Edition jersey, which was co-designed by Bryant.
The jerseys will feature the number eight on the front and 24 on the back, “an arrangement that symbolizes Kobe’s legendary career and the day dedicated to his impact on the game,” Nike announced. The jerseys will be available Monday.
On Sunday, the L.A. Dodgers are set to honor Kobe and Gianna Bryant during pregame ceremonies before the series finale against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium, according to Dodger Blue.
NewsNation affiliate KTLA contributed to this report.