Vanessa Bryant and Natalia Diamante Bryant attend the Baby2Baby 10-Year Gala Presented By Paul Mitc...
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Vanessa Bryant Continued A Special Back-To-School Tradition Her Late Husband Kobe Started

The basketball great’s oldest daughter Natalia is starting her junior year of college at the University of Southern California.

When Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in January 2020, he left behind his wife Vanessa and three daughters. A family he loved, a family who were creating traditions together before the basketball great’s life was cut horribly short. And as a way to honor not just his memory but the daughter they shared, Vanessa Bryant has continued a special tradition her husband started with their oldest daughter Natalia.

Natalia Bryant is a 20-year-old student who just started her junior year of college at the University of Southern California. And her mother wanted to make sure that a tradition started by her husband years earlier continued for her daughter. She sent an arrangement of yellow, orange, and pink roses to Natalia with a note that read, “Happy first day of school! Love you always, Daddy.”

Natalia, who is older sister to 7-year-old Bianka and 4-year-old Capri, shared a photo of the floral arrangement on her Instagram Story with the message, “first day of school always @kobebryant. Thank you mommy @vanessabryant.”

Kobe Bryant sent his daughter flowers for her first day of school.Natalia Bryant/Instagram

Kobe Bryant made it very clear before he died that he was a proud “girl dad” to his four daughters, so his sweet tradition of giving his daughter flowers on her first day of school absolutely makes sense. And for her part, Natalia has her own way of honoring her father. She talks about him. “I love talking about my dad,” she told Teen Vogue in 2021. “It's bittersweet, but I enjoy talking about him more than it's sad for me.” She also talks about him to keep his memory alive for her sisters, who were so young when he died. “You do the best that you can. [For] my little sisters [we’re] trying to keep that memory for them. And also just trying to remember to live out every day the way they would.”

Vanessa Bryant’s decision to keep up with her husband’s first day of school tradition for their daughters is one of those simple ways that they can remember him and feel his presence. Especially during those important milestones.