Vanessa Bryant Pays Tribute to Kobe and Gianna in Moving Speech for TIME's Person of the Year Special

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Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Bryant
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Sean Combs

Vanessa Bryant is remembering all the loved ones we've lost in 2020, including her husband, Kobe Bryant, and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant.

During the TIME Person of the Year presentation that aired Thursday night on NBC, a heartwarming pre-recorded message from Vanessa played as an introduction to the In Memoriam segment.

"Words cannot do justice to the grief we felt this year. At every level of human connection from across the world to across the table, we experienced profound loss," Vanessa, 38, expressed. "We said goodbye to husbands, daughters, wives, sons, grandparents, friends and national heroes."

"We continue to count the lives surrendered to this cruel pandemic, which has claimed well over a million souls, worldwide," she continued. "Tonight, we mourn the people we all knew and the many we never will. May our collective grief unite us on the path forward."

Following Vanessa's speech, a video montage then played in remembrance of some of the celebrities and public figures who we've lost this year. Kobe and Gigi -- who died together in a tragic helicopter crash back in January -- were featured in the clip, along with Regis Philbin, Sean Connery, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Trebek, Chadwick Boseman, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and more. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott performed a rendition of "Over the Rainbow" as the montage played. 

Additionally, TIME announced Lakers star LeBron James as their 2020 Athlete of the Year, writing on Twitter, "What LeBron James has done is going to forever change the athlete’s role in society." The magazine also named K-pop band BTS the 2020 Entertainer of the Year, while Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were awarded the prestigious 2020 Person of the Year.

Of becoming the United States' first female vice president, Kamala told TIME, "It is one of my responsibilities."

"My mother had many sayings. She would say, 'Kamala, you may be the first to do many things; make sure you're not the last,'" she added. "Which is why [in my victory speech], I said, 'I will be the first, but I will not be the last.' And that's about legacy. That's about leaving the door more open than it was when you walked in."

As for Kobe's legacy, Vanessa has been doing everything in her power to keep his spirit alive since his untimely death. The NBA legend is also survived by daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 1.

Hear more on how the Bryant family has been coping amid tragedy in the video below.

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