Scott tells PEOPLE, “I’ve never witnessed a father show the love he had for his daughters as much as I saw Kobe.”
At the unveiling of Kobe Bryant’s handprints on Wednesday at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Byron Scott was overtaken with emotion.
At the ceremony, Scott, 61, tells PEOPLE that in addition to honoring his close friend, it was significant for him to hear Natalia Bryant, Kobe’s eldest daughter, talk about her father. Natalia, now 20 years old, was a baby when Scott first saw her, he recalls.
I’ve known the Bryant family pretty much since they got married, so hearing her speak today was incredible, says Kobe’s old coach.
Natalia has developed into “such a lovely, wonderful person,” according to Scott, who praises the late NBA great for his influence on Natalia as a father. He remarks, “Kobe did a wonderful job.
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Natalia declared during her speech that her father was “The MVP of female dads, to say the least” and “the best girl dad any young woman could possibly dream of.”
Scott has similar feelings. He tells PEOPLE that Natalia was correct when she declared that Kobe was “the MVP of girl parents,” and he agrees. “He adored his daughters. I’ve never witnessed a father show as much affection for his daughters as I watched Kobe do “Scott says.
During his address, Scott took a minute to express his gratitude to Vanessa Bryant and her kids for inviting him to speak at the event. Before the unveiling, Los Angeles Lakers president Jeanie Buss also spoke.
With Kobe, whom he first met when the NBA star was barely 18 years old, the former Laker recalled some of his favorite NBA years. After the event, he added, “We had a closeness that I don’t believe a lot of people appreciated.
Scott claims that he “tried not to prepare” his speech in advance. “I only wanted to speak honestly and from the heart. I didn’t want to record anything in writing. I just wanted to express my love for Kobe and my emotions via my words.”
At the storied TCL Chinese Theatre in 2011, Kobe became the first athlete to have his hands and feet etched in cement. And on Wednesday, the theatre permanently inscribed his handprints and footprints in the forecourt of the illustrious building to honor his legacy.
As Vanessa, 40, watched, Natalia spoke at the event alongside her younger sisters Bianka, 6, and Capri, 3.
One of my biggest joys in life is being his daughter, and I aim to always live up to and treasure the numerous teachings he has taught me, Natalia said.
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Natalia agreed that it was a significant choice to display Kobe’s prints in front of the Chinese Theater. She stated, “This day marks the impact dad has made on a city he loved and cared for so dearly.
“I want you to put your hands in his and stand in his shoes for a second. Los Angeles and my dad’s admirers from all around the world will be able to keep and treasure this.”
Natalia concluded by expressing their love for Kobe “forever and always” and mentioning her sister Gianna, who also perished in the helicopter tragedy along with their father.