Pau Gasol is remembering his “hermano” and former teammate Kobe Bryant on the one-year anniversary of his death. The Spanish basketball player took to his Instagram on Tuesday, Jan. 26, to pen a moving tribute alongside photos of him and Kobe, as well as photos of the late Los Angeles Lakers star and his daughter Gianna, who also died in the helicopter crash that killed her dad last year.
“I miss you, hermano… not a day goes by that you are not present in what I do. Your spirit, your drive, your ambition, your love… continues to shine in my life and in many others,” Pau wrote. “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.”
He continued, “I hope you and Gigi are smiling down seeing how strong, sweet and amazing your girls are… they are growing so fast brother.”
Pau and his wife Catherine McDonnell welcomed their first child, a baby girl, in September. The couple named their daughter Elisabet Gianna Gasol after Kobe and Vanessa Bryant’s daughter Gianna. “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,” he 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.”
Pau also added the hashtags “#PlayGigisWay #Mambacita #Mamba #DaddysGirl #GirlDad #Hermano #Kobe #Family.” In a previous interview, the athlete said that Kobe was “the closest thing to a big brother that I’ve had in my life.”
Days after his friend’s tragic death, Pau tweeted, “I still refuse to believe it... it still feels like a nightmare that I can’t wait to wake up from... but if this nightmare continues, I will do what I can to keep your legacy going and your lessons present in everything I do,” adding, “I will be heartbroken for a long time, but I will forever be thankful for having had shared so much together. You inspired me and pushed me to be a better version of myself everyday. As you have done with many others.”