Vanessa Bryant didn’t want daughter Natalia to miss prom because of Kobe, like she did

Vanessa Bryant presents daughter Natalia with Kobe Bryant's Hall of Fame jacket
Vanessa Bryant, left, widow of Kobe Bryant, presents their daughter Natalia with Bryant’s Hall of Fame jacket Friday in Uncasville, Conn.
(Kathy Willens / Associated Press)

Vanessa Bryant missed her senior prom because of her future husband, Kobe Bryant.

She wasn’t about to let the same thing happen to their oldest daughter, Natalia Bryant.

Natalia’s senior prom was Saturday night on the West Coast. On the same night, her late father was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on the East Coast.


Officially, Kobe Bryant is a member of the 2020 Hall of Fame class. Had his induction taken place during that calendar year, Natalia likely would have had no problem being on hand for the ceremony. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was rescheduled, thus creating a scheduling conflict for his USC-bound daughter.

Vanessa Bryant understood the significance of prom night for a high school senior and gladly gave her blessing for Natalia to have the experience Vanessa missed out on 21 years ago.

“When I was a senior in high school, Kobe and I were engaged and he had a playoff game the night of my prom. Kobe didn’t want me going to prom without him and I didn’t want to go without him,” Vanessa Bryant wrote in an Instagram post Sunday. “When we heard Natalia’s prom night and Kobe’s Hall of Fame night were on the same night, I looked at Natalia and said, ‘Well, if it’s any consolation, daddy kept me from going to my prom, so it’s only right that he tried to keep you from going to yours.’”

She added: “Natalia’s experienced so much loss, I couldn’t let her miss out on her once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to her senior prom.”

Still, Natalia was able to play a significant role in the festivities in Uncasville, Conn., this weekend. She was on stage Friday night to accept Kobe Bryant’s Hall of Fame jacket, presented to her by her mother.

Natalia Bryant stands with members of the 2020 Hall of Fame class.
Natalia Bryant, center, accepted a Hall of Fame jacket on behalf of her father, the late Kobe Bryant, on Friday in Uncasville, Conn.
(Kathy Willens / Associated Press)

Vanessa Bryant posted a photo that appears to be her kissing her daughter goodbye at the airport the next morning.

“Thank you for flying out to accept daddy’s Hall of Fame jacket and fly home the next morning,” Vanessa Bryant wrote on Instagram.