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Vanessa Bryant delivers moving tribute to husband Kobe, daughter Gianna at memorial

The widow of the Lakers legend spoke in front of thousands of people who gathered at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
/ Source: TODAY

Vanessa Bryant remembered her daughter Gianna's "infectious" laugh and husband Kobe Bryant as "the MVP of girl dads" in a touching and at times funny speech at Monday's memorial in their honor at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The memorial marked Bryant's first public comments outside of Instagram since the death of Kobe, 41, and Gianna, 13, in a helicopter crash last month.

"God knew they couldn't be on this Earth without each other,'' she said while fighting back tears. "He had to bring them home to have them together.

"Babe, you take care of our Gigi. … We’re still the best team. May you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day."

The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant
Vanessa Bryant eulogized husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna in a moving speech during a memorial to them in Los Angeles. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Bryant remembered the always upbeat attitude of her second-oldest daughter, who was affectionately known as Gigi.

"Gigi was sunshine,'' she said. "She brightened up my day, every day. I miss looking at her beautiful face. She was the most loving daughter, thoughtful little sister and silly big sister."

She also lamented the loss of a girl with so much life ahead of her, a talented basketball player who Bryant said would've become a WNBA star.

"We didn’t get the chance to teach her how to drive a car,'' she said. "I won’t be able to tell her how gorgeous she looks on her wedding day. I’ll never get to see my baby girl walk down the aisle or have babies of her own. Gianna would have been an amazing mommy."

Bryant remembered her husband for much more than his five NBA titles or 18 All Star appearances.

"Kobe was the MVP of girl dads, or 'MVD,''' she said. "He never left the toilet seat up. Always told the girls how beautiful and smart they are. Taught them how to be brave."

She also recalled the silly side of the famously hard-nosed competitor, whether it was singing in the shower or watching tear-jerking movies such as "Steel Magnolias" and "Little Women" with his daughters.

"He was a doting father, a father that was hands-on and present,'' she said.

Veteran Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke, who covered Kobe's entire career, lauded his wife's poise in delivering her speech.

"Vanessa reading her love letter to Kobe and Gigi is the most powerful and courageous moment I’ve seen in Staples Center,'' he tweeted.