The model took to her Instagram Story earlier this week to share the photo of the gift: a bouquet of light, pink roses. As shown in the since-expired post, shared via People, the flowers also had a card in it, which was signed by Gianna and Kobe, both of who tragically died in a helicopter crash in 2020.
“Happy 21st birthday Slim-a-knees!” the card reads. “Love you always, Daddy and Gigi.” In the caption, Natalia also tagged her father and mother Vanessa Bryant’s Instagram accounts, while writing: “Thank you,” alongside a red heart emoji.
On 19 January, which is Natalia’s official birthday, Vanessa also shared a video montage with throwback pictures of her eldest child on Instagram, along with a sweet tribute.
“Happy 21st birthday @nataliabryant !!! We love you so much!!!! You are what every parent hopes and prays for,” Vanessa wrote. “You are such a beautiful, strong, smart, loving young woman with the kindest soul and I am so proud to be your mommy! I love you, mama!”
Natalia had a star-studded birthday party last weekend, with some of the guests including Ciara, Kelly Rowland, and Cat Gasol, who’s the wife of former Los Angeles Lakers star Pau Gasol.
Since her father’s death, Natalia has continued to open up about keeping his legacy alive. During an interview with Elle in October 2023, she described one of the NBA star’s daily mindsets, which he’d previously discussed with his fans, and how she wants to abide by that mentality.
“Mamba mentality is about constantly trying to be the best version of yourself. It’s putting your best foot forward at all times regardless of all the noise,” she explained. “I want to make sure that mentality stays intact, because it can be so easy to give up on yourself when things get tough. You have to remind yourself that with positivity and resilience, you can do anything.”
On 26 January 2020, Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were tragically killed in a helicopter crash just outside Los Angeles, along with seven other victims. In March 2023, Vanessa was awarded a $28.5m settlement in her lawsuit with Los Angeles County over photographs of the 2020 helicopter crash, in which police and fire officials employed by the county allegedly showed photos of the crash site.
In March 2023, the University of Southern California student also paid tribute to her father at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, California, following the unveiling of a display honouring the Lakers player.
“I’m honoured to be here today to recognise the man we all knew and love, my dad Kobe Bryant,” she said during her speech at the event, which she attended with her mother and sisters, Bianka, six, and Capri, four. “While most people knew him as a basketball player or a storyteller, I got to know and love him as my dad. And let me tell you, he is the MVP of girl dads, to say the least.”
She expressed that while it’s not “easy” to be a father of four, Kobe still made sure that he was always there to support his daughters, even in the midst of his busy NBA schedule.
“He always made sure to support me and my sisters, Gianna, Bianka, and Capri – at our recitals, games, tournaments and any monumental moment you could think of,” she said. “Being his daughter is one of the greatest joys of my life and I hope I continue to embody and cherish the many lessons he has taught me.”