“I love talking about my dad. It’s bittersweet, but I enjoy talking about him more than it’s sad for me,” the model and college freshman said. natalia Bryant is moving forward after the death of her father, NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
The IMG model and University of Southern California freshman opened up about her childhood and her basketball-star dad in her Teen Vogue cover interview. She also spoke about life after the January 2020 helicopter crash that killed her father and her 13-year-old sister, youth basketball star Gianna Bryant.
“I love talking about my dad. It’s bittersweet, but I enjoy talking about him more than it’s sad for me,” she said Natalia told several stories about how her father nurtured her interests growing up. The incoming film major said that her love of movies came from watching them with Kobe, who won an Academy Award for his animated short film, Dear Basketball. After a 2019 midnight showing of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, the Los Angeles Lakers player agreed to watch all the franchise’s films that same night with her. “He was just like the best girl dad ever.
He was just letting me play my playlist and jam out to Taylor Swift the whole ride back, and talk about Star Wars too. It was so much fun,” she said, before admitting that the night did not go as planned. “I fell asleep during the first half of the [first] movie.”Natalia, who stands nearly six feet tall, also addressed her decision to play varsity volleyball in high school, admitting that she wasn’t into basketball as a kid because she hates running. She said that she fell in love with the sport after watching a beach volleyball game at the 2012 London Olympics with her mother, Vanessa Bryant.
“I was watching and [my Mom] was like, ‘Nani, you’re going to love this sport. You’re going to love volleyball. I’m calling it right now.’ I think [my mom] knew I wasn’t confident in my height,” she said. “She’s like, ‘You’re going to play volleyball. You’re going to get confident because of this. There are all these other tall girls too, so you’re not the only one.'”
Despite her love of the sport, Natalia decided not to play on her college team. “I quit volleyball after the accident because I was so … a lot was going on at that time. I knew I didn’t … love volleyball as much as they love basketball. I’m okay with that. […] I just wanted to take a break from it.”
When asked how her family is doing nowadays, the 18-year-old said that she and her mother are focusing on her little sisters, Bianka Bella, 4, and Capri Kobe, 2.”You do the best that you can. [For] my little sisters [we’re] trying to keep that memory for them. And also just trying to remember to live out every day the way they would,” she shared.