The NBA and sports worlds are paying tribute to Kobe Bryant on what would have been the Basketball Hall of Famer's 42nd birthday. Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Jan. 26.
On Sunday, Vanessa Bryant delivered a personal and heartfelt birthday message:
"To my baby -- Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU!," the post read. "I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi. I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh...
"Thank you for showing me what real love is. Thank YOU for everything. I know my Gigi in celebrating you like she always has on our special days. I miss my thoughtful princess so much! Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri and I wish you a happy birthday my love. I love you now, forever and always."
Vanessa Bryant wishes Kobe a happy birthday ❤️ pic.twitter.com/zDyV9NaoTy— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 23, 2020
More birthday wishes and tributes for Kobe are pouring in on social media.
We miss you every day, Kobe. Happy birthday from your Lakers family. pic.twitter.com/6hzwFXgkwh— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 23, 2020
Happy birthday brother.— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) August 23, 2020
Kobe taught us to be better. A better scorer, better mentor, better father, better champion. Today, on his birthday, we continue his endless pursuit of better. 💜💛 #MambaMentality #TeamNike @Nike @nikebasketball pic.twitter.com/M7OiPrA4F0
It's 8:24 on his #Birthday. Its the first time I will not be able 2 say #HappyBirthday I will never get use tothat. We think about you often To Vanessa & the girls we r always here for you I know U will be strong because he is part of you. To Joe & Pam I understand. We ❤️U #Kobe pic.twitter.com/Uy0tdZlpd8— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) August 23, 2020
Happy Birthday,Kobster...we miss u boy pic.twitter.com/6HTjUUfesc— Mychal Thompson (@champagnennuts) August 23, 2020
Happy Birthday, Kobe 💜💛 pic.twitter.com/RO8zQRwQtI— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) August 23, 2020
Happy Birthday, Kobe. 💛💜 pic.twitter.com/5qw7MfAm9A— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) August 23, 2020
Happy Birthday Kobe 🧡 pic.twitter.com/yP9N1XXSrg— WNBA (@WNBA) August 23, 2020
Stars across the sports world took to social media to pay tribute to the Black Mamba.
Legends are missed, but never forgotten.— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) August 23, 2020
I had the pleasure of calling Kobe Bryant my friend for 20 years. Nobody, and I mean nobody, worked harder and more passionately to be great, day in and day out. As a player, as a coach, as a mentor, as a husband and as a father. 💜💛 pic.twitter.com/F1IxskIDyP
Kobe forever. Thank you for inspiring us every day. RIP Legend 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/bS5zXX0CjP— Robinson Cano (@RobinsonCano) August 23, 2020
Kobe Bryant would have turned 42 years old today.— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) August 23, 2020
On this difficult day for his family, we send them love and prayers, and comfort from happy memories of their time together. pic.twitter.com/KSQXVKPrKH
Respect for the Black Mamba. pic.twitter.com/6Lv6FyfKEg— MLB (@MLB) August 23, 2020
For Kobe and Gigi. pic.twitter.com/Ei1CsGtsuj— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 23, 2020
Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum wore an "In Memory Of Kobe Bryant" shirt ahead of Game 4 between the Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, where a Kobe and Gianna tribute banner surrounded the court pregame.
Happy birthday Mamba 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/HStXMYTpUm— Boston Celtics (@celtics) August 23, 2020
On what would have been Kobe Bryant's 42th birthday, a 2 and KB banner surrounds the court as Sixers and Celtics warm up. pic.twitter.com/oe6Lvhllq4— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) August 23, 2020
Monday is Aug. 24, also known as Mamba Day (8/24). The Houston Rockets paid tribute before their playoff game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers, meanwhile, will wear special edition Black Mamba-themed jerseys for their Game 4 against the Portland Trail Blazers.