Vanessa Bryant remembers 'sweet baby girl' Gianna on her birthday

Gianna "Gigi" Bryant" would have turned 14 on Friday. She and eight other people, including her father Kobe Bryant, died in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash.
Image: Kobe Bryant poses with his family as both his Los Angeles Lakers numbers, 8 and 24, are retired at the Staples Center on Dec. 18, 2017.
Kobe Bryant poses with his family as both his Los Angeles Lakers numbers, 8 and 24, are retired at the Staples Center on Dec. 18, 2017.Maxx Wolfson / Getty Images file

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By Minyvonne Burke

Vanessa Bryant marked what would have been Gianna Bryant's 14th birthday with a touching Instagram post on Friday.

"Mommy loves you more than I can ever show you," she wrote, calling Gianna her "sweet baby girl."

In a photo accompanying the post, Gianna, known as "Gigi," has a big smile on her face and is wearing Mickey Mouse clothing.

Gianna was among nine people killed in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, that also claimed the life of her father, NBA star Kobe Bryant.

She was the second oldest of the couple's four daughters. They are also parents to Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, who was born in June.

"You are part of MY SOUL forever," Vanessa continued. "I miss you so much everyday. I wish I could wake up and have you here with me. I miss your smile, your hugs and your giggles. I miss EVERYTHING about YOU, Gigi. I LOVE YOU so much!!!!!!!"

In a second Instagram post, Vanessa said that Gianna loved to wear a red bow in her school pictures, symbolizing love and life. She asked that people who wanted to celebrate Gianna's birthday wear red, do 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."

Gianna, just like her father, loved basketball and had dreams of attending the University of Connecticut and playing in the WNBA. She played on a team at her father's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks. It was reported that they were on their way to the facility at the time of the crash.

Kobe often referred to her as "Mambacita," a play on the nickname he gave himself, "The Black Mamba."

"Mambacita" and "Happy Birthday Gigi" trended on Twitter as people remembered the teen. Thousands of others flooded the comments section of Vanessa's Instagram post.

"Sending so much love. Happy birthday beautiful, Gigi," WWE wrestler Natalya Neidhart wrote.

Retired basketball player Swin Cash said she hopes Gianna's smile will continue to "light up the world forever."

"Sending love and light to you V and the girls," Cash added.