Former Laker Pau Gasol paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant on Instagram Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of the fatal helicopter crash that killed the legendary basketball player and his daughter, Gianna, as well as seven others.
“I miss you, hermano… not a day goes by that you are not present in what I do,” Gasol wrote. “Your spirit, your drive, your ambition, your love… continues to shine in my life and in many others. Photos, videos, very special moments keep being shared by countless people that have admired you and loved you in their own way, reminding me how incredibly lucky I have been to share some of those moments with you.
“I hope you and Gigi are smiling down seeing how strong, sweet and amazing your girls are… they are growing so fast brother.”
Gasol and Bryant formed a strong friendship while playing together in Los Angeles from 2008 to 2014. The Spanish basketball star has remained close to the Bryant family, offering them support while they grieved. Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, has posted pictures and videos of Gasol, 40, playing with her children in the months following his death. Gasol and his wife Catherine honored Gianna when naming their newborn daughter in September.
“I wish you could’ve met our little Elisabet Gianna. We will make sure she knows where her middle name comes from… how extraordinary, loving and inspiring her cousin Gigi and her uncle Kobe were,” Gasol wrote.
“Today, we honor and celebrate both of you, you have left us with so much…, but even if it isn’t how we would like things to be, you are, and always will be, in our hearts.”
Bryant and 13-year-old Gianna died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California last year on the way to a basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy.