On Monday, Vanessa Bryant shared a photo of the tattoo that friend and pro soccer player Leroux, 29, got in memory of Gianna, who died in a helicopter crash last month at age 13, along with her dad Kobe Bryant and seven other passengers.
“#2 ❤️,Leroux. Thank you for honoring my Gigi. I love you @sydneyleroux,” Vanessa, 37, captioned the photo on Instagram, showcasing the fine-line inking of the number two, which was Gianna’s jersey number on the basketball court.
No. 2 is also Leroux’s jersey number on the soccer field.
After news of the tragedy made waves last month, Leroux shared an emotional tribute to Gianna on Instagram, calling the aspiring athlete a “star.”
“Your dad told me that you were going to be better than he was. You had the gift no matter what you were playing,” wrote the family friend at the time. “I know you’ll be looking down on your mom and your sisters with your big smile while shooting hoops with your dad, doing what you both love.”
She added of their shared jersey number: “2 will always be ours.”
Leroux also thanked Kobe for “allowing me into your beautiful family.”
“Thank you for believing in me. Being there for me during the good times and the tough ones,” she continued. “For your crazy book recommendations and your quotes. For helping me write. For teaching me to never soften for anybody. For teaching me about the darkness and the light and the villains becoming the heroes. I won’t forget any of it. I’ll miss you.”
In a subsequent post on Instagram, Leroux — who shares two kids with her soccer star husband Dom Dwyer, son Cassius, 3, and 8-month-old daughter Roux James — opened up about how the tragedy impacted her own family.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever cried in front of my kids but last week I couldn’t help it,” she wrote at the time. “I held them close. One on each lap. My hands were full but my heart wasn’t. Cassius looked at me and sang the ABC’s to me because that’s what I do with Roux when she cries.”
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“You think you have all of this time with people and then you don’t. And it really really hurts and then you’re okay. And you’re only okay because you forgot that it’s real for a minute,” Leroux wrote. “It comes in these huge waves and I haven’t learned how to swim through them yet.”
She added: “But I look back and I remember when the going was tough; what he said to me… ‘Figure it out. No other option.’ And so I will. So we will.”
Kobe and Gianna are being memorialized in more ways than one. Earlier this month, Vanessa — who is also mom to daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and 7-month-old Capri — announced that Kobe’s Mamba Sports Foundation’s name has been changed to include their late daughter.
“Because there is no #24 without #2,” Vanessa wrote, referencing Kobe and Gianna’s basketball jersey numbers, “We have updated the Mamba Sports Foundation to now be called the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation.”