The retired Los Angeles Lakers star, one of the most popular and successful basketball players of all time, died at age 41 in a helicopter crash on Sunday along with 13-year-old Gianna Bryant, one of his and wife Vanessa Bryant's four daughters, and seven other people, including two other teenage girls.
"Never will I understand," Brandy, 40, wrote on Instagram on Friday, alongside an image of Kobe hugging Gianna. "My condolences to @vanessabryant , the entire family, and all in pain during this tragic time. Love ♥️ #Mamba #Mambacita."
In May 1996, at age 17, Brandy, a rising R&B singer and star of the hit sitcom Moesha, was Kobe's date to his Lower Merion Township High School prom at the Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia. Brandy wore a sleeveless champagne Moschino dress and watching shawl and her signature long braids. Kobe, almost 18 at the time, wore a black tux and banded-color shirt with no tie.
"He asked me to go to the prom with him, and since he was a nice guy...I asked my mom, and she said yes," Brandy told the New York Daily News at the time.