Jeanie Buss posts a touching open letter to Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant and Jeanie Buss attend his hand and footprint ceremony at Grauman's Chinese Theater in 2011.
(David Livingston / Getty Images)

Jeanie Buss started an Instagram post Thursday stating she didn’t know how to express what Kobe Bryant meant to her.

But then the Lakers controlling owner went on to do a very nice job of doing just that, four days after a helicopter crash took the lives of Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.

Buss’ first public statement since Bryant’s death is a touching open letter to the Lakers legend.

“Kobe, I don’t know how to express what you mean to me, my family and the Los Angeles Lakers,” wrote Buss, daughter of late Lakers owner Jerry Buss. “My father loved you like a son, which makes us family.”

She goes on to tell of an encounter with Bryant shortly after her father’s death, at a time she says she “was struggling to find motivation and purpose.”


“Kobe, you brought Gianna with you to spend some time with me,” Buss wrote. “You explained that you wanted to show her that women can be leaders in the NBA, just like the men. At first, it seemed like an action of a devoted father setting an example for his daughter. But in actuality — and I am positively sure you knew EXACTLY what you were doing — what you did was give me the inspiration and strength I was searching for.

“I reflect on that day often and it makes me smile and it makes me strong. I call on that memory whenever I feel down and need a bit of courage. For everything you did on the court that filled me with so much joy and love, for all the lives you changed through basketball itself, it was that day with Gigi that reignited my drive and determination.”

Kobe Bryant smiles after receiving his championship ring from NBA commisioner David Stern, left, and Jeanie Buss on Oct. 27, 2009, at Staples Center.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Buss concludes by expressing her condolences to Vanessa Bryant and her surviving daughters, as well as everyone who lost loved ones in the helicopter crash.

“The entire Laker family mourns with you,” she wrote. “Laker Nation — we are one family grieving the loss of people we all loved dearly. We will mourn together, cry together but we will also heal together, love together and win TOGETHER. We love you.”