USC-bound Natalia Bryant gets cardinal and gold Kobe sneakers from mother Vanessa
Natalia Bryant is going to USC — and her late father, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, is going to be with her “every step of the way.”
That’s according to Natalia’s mother, Vanessa Bryant, who commemorated her daughter’s acceptance into USC with a special gift — a custom pair of Kobe Bryant signature Nikes in cardinal and gold.
Vanessa Bryant posted a photo of the footwear along with videos of an ecstatic Natalia celebrating the momentous occasion Tuesday on Instagram.
“I’m SO happy for you Nani!” Vanessa Bryant wrote. “I know daddy is so PROUD OF YOU. I am so PROUD OF YOU!! Your hard work and dedication was so worth it. You pushed through the most excruciating pain imaginable and you succeeded. I wish Daddy and Gigi were physically here to celebrate but I know they’re here in spirit. We love you so much!”
Kobe Bryant and 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash Jan. 26, 2020, in Calabasas.
One of the videos shows Natalia celebrating with her mother and little sisters Bianca, 4, and Capri, 1. In it, Vanessa Bryant points out the Mamba sneakers and says it took three months for them to be made.
Natalia responded by giving her mother a hug. “Mommy!” said Natalia, whose father’s signature appears on the heels of her new shoes. “Thank you!”
Kobe Bryant was a supporter of USC athletics and received a No. 24 Trojans jersey when he spoke at a business forum on campus in 2018.
According to earlier Instagram posts by her mother, Natalia had also been accepted into Oregon and Loyola Marymount. But, Vanessa Bryant wrote Tuesday, USC was her daughter’s “top school.”
Vanessa Bryant was prepared for the big news — in addition to the shoes, she also had a multitude of balloons in USC colors and numerous other school merchandise hidden in the guest room in anticipation of the moment.
A look at how Kobe Bryant’s widow took to social media throughout the year to honor her husband and daughter while sharing her struggles after their deaths.
But she also had a backup plan just in case.
“If you wouldn’t have been accepted I would’ve had to have stabbed these balloons in the guest room and have thrown all this away,” Vanessa wrote on Instagram.
“Thank goodness you got in,” she added with a smiling emoji.
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.