Vanessa Bryant Celebrates Birthday by Opening Last Letter Kobe Wrote Her

Vanessa Bryant revealed she celebrated her birthday on Tuesday by opening a letter from her late husband, Kobe.

In an Instagram post, Bryant explained that on Monday she had found a letter the former Los Angeles Lakers had addressed to her and instead of opening it immediately, she opted to keep it sealed until her birthday.

The letter was the last one her late husband wrote her before he tragically died, along with their 13-year-old daughter Gianna and other seven people, in a helicopter crash just outside Los Angeles on January 26.

"Yesterday I found an envelope labeled To: The Love of my Life. From, Tu Papi," Bryant's widow wrote as the caption to a picture of the letter.

"I waited to open one more letter on my birthday. It gave me something to look forward to today. The irony is that Kobe had a photo of me drawn with an Angel holding me up by an artist on the cover. Missing the Love of my Life and my sweet little Mamacita—my fellow Taurus. Grateful to wake up to my 3 sweet girls today. Wish we were all together."

On Friday, Bryant had shared a heartfelt on what would have been Gianna's 14th birthday.

"Happy 14th Birthday to my sweet baby girl, Gianna," she wrote on Instagram. "Mommy loves you more than I can ever show you. You are part of MY SOUL forever. I miss you so much everyday."

Bryant's tragic and premature death shocked the NBA. The 41-year-old was honored at a memorial service at Staples Center, the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, in February.

Along with Vanessa, Michael Jordan was among those who spoke at Bryant's memorial, fighting back the tears as he described the five-time NBA champion as his "little brother".

The special relationship between Jordan and Bryant was again laid bare on Sunday, when the latter featured in The Last Dance, ESPN's 10-part documentary chronicling Jordan's final season with the Chicago Bulls.

In Episode 5 of the documentary, which was posthumously dedicated to his memory, Bryant revealed that despite being the sport's biggest icon at the time, Jordan was happy to provide guidance to younger players.

"I had a question about shooting this turnaround shot, so I asked him about it," he said. "He gave me a great detailed answer. But, on top of that, he said: 'If you ever need anything, give me a call.' He's like my big brother.

"I truly hate having discussions about who would win one on one. 'Hey Kobe, you beat Michael one on one,' he said.

By the time Bryant was selected with the 12th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft Jordan had already won four NBA titles and the former elicited comparisons with MJ throughout his 20-year career.

In The Last Dance, however, Bryant pushed back on the suggestion of a rivalry between him and Jordan.

"'I feel like, Yo, what you get from me is from him. I won't get five championships here without him because he guided me so much and gave me so much great advice."

Kobe Bryant
Vanessa Laine Bryant (L) and Kobe Bryant attend the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. Mike Coppola/VF19/Getty