Kobe Bryant was not known for having particularly close relationships with his teammates, but Pau Gasol was an exception. Bryant, raised largely in Italy, bonded with the Spanish Gasol and even communicated on the floor in foreign languages to confuse opponents. The two won two championships together in purple and gold, and even afterward, openly referred to one another as brothers.
That relationship has lasted even beyond Bryant's death in a helicopter accident last January. When his daughter Elisabet was born in September, he gave her the middle name "Gianna" after Bryant's daughter, who also died in the crash. On Tuesday, the anniversary of Bryant's death, Gasol posted a touching tribute to his close friend on Instagram.
"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. 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.
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.
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."
Gasol has remained close with the Bryant family even after Kobe's tragic accident. In August, Bryant's widow Vanessa shared photos of a sailing trip she and her children took with the Gasol family. Kobe may be gone, but his bond with Gasol will seemingly last for the rest of Pau's life.