On Friday, Gianna Bryant would have turned 14, and mum Vanessa Bryant — plus a host of celebrities — took the chance to celebrate in a special way.
Vanessa posted an image to Instagram wearing a red bracelet that holds her daughter’s name and her nickname ‘mambacita’, with a heart in between.
“Gianna loved to wear a red bow in all of her school pictures. Red means love and life,” explained Vanessa in the caption. “To commemorate Gigi’s birthday today, please consider wearing red, caption an act of kindness or show how you will play Gigi’s way since she always gave everything she did her all and led with kindness.”
She hashtagged the post #PlayGigisWay, likely a reference to her late daughter’s affinity for basketball. Vanessa also said the bracelets would be available for sale soon, with proceeds going toward the Mamba and Mambacita foundation.
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A host of celebrities took to Instagram wearing the bracelet and honouring Gianna, who died alongside her father and basketball icon Kobe Bryant, 41, in a helicopter accident in January.
Lakers star LeBron James led the wishes, posting a video of himself wearing the bracelet to his Instagram story, and writing: “Happy beauty-day niece Gigi!!”
Jennifer Lopez and fiance Alex ‘A-Rod’ Rodriguez took a family photo with their children, while all sporting the red bracelet.
“Happy Birthday, Gigi. We miss you. You are always in our hearts,” wrote the retired baseball player Rodriguez. “Today we wore these red bracelets in honour of you, to symbolise love and life. I think of you, Mambacita, and your dad everyday. We love you.”
Kim Kardashian West and sister Khloe Kardashian also posted tributes to their Instagram stories, wearing the bracelets.
“Happy birthday Gigi!!! We all love you so much!” wrote Khloe. “You always led with kindness and love. Today and everyday, thank you for inspiring us to be better.”
Kelly Clarkson joined in, sharing a personal memory.
“I remember Kobe telling me that Gigi always played with kindness, not just talent! I wear this bracelet to honour her on her birthday and remind everyone to continue her legacy and #PlayGigisWay,” wrote Clarkson, using the hashtag that Vanessa created for the occasion.
Ciara and her husband, football quarterback Russell Wilson, shared an image of their hands overlapping, while they both donned the red wristband.
“Happy Birthday Mambacita Gi Gi,” wrote the ‘1, 2 Step’ singer and dancer. “Today I’m going to do a little dance for you because I know you loved dancing. We love you.”
Actress Zendaya shared a wordless image of her wearing the bracelet, with an extra heart drawn on top.