Kobe Bryant's legacy continues to live on.
The legendary athlete, who tragically died in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant and several others in January, would've turned 42 years old today, Sunday, Aug. 23.
Although private, Vanessa Bryant took to Instagram to share a heartfelt message in honor of her late husband and daughter.
"To my baby," Vanessa began her message on Instagram. "Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU! I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi. I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh."
"I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are. I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way," she continued.
Vanessa's heartwarming tribute didn't stop there. She thanked her late husband for showing her "how to be strong." She expressed, "Your thoughtful gestures and the amazing way you made us all feel is extremely missed."
"I picture your smile and wide big welcoming hugs daily. God I miss you both so much. Our lives feel so empty without you and Gigi. I've been completely broken inside," she shared, adding that she's tried keeping it together for their kids: Natalia Bryant, Bianka Bryant and Capri Bryant.
"I'm sure you're proud of them. They put a smile on my face everyday," she went on. "I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare. I wish I could surprise our girls and welcome you and Gigi home to us. I'm mad I didn't go first. I always wanted to go first so that I selfishly didn't have to feel this heartache. You were supposed to miss me. Gigi was supposed to be here with her sisters.... There's so much I wish I could tell you and show you and Gigi... So many milestones for our girls. So many things you would be proud of."
"Thank you for showing me what real love is. Thank YOU for everything. I know my Gigi is celebrating you like she always has on our special days. I miss my thoughtful princess so much! Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri and I wish you a happy birthday my love. I love you for now, forever and for always," she closed.
Vanessa wasn't the only one to post a special message about her late husband. Kobe's sister, Sharia Washington, also wished him a happy birthday and paid tribute to his legacy.
"I've typed and deleted this so many times. There are simply no words to describe how I'm feeling today. So many people around the world miss 'The Black Mamba,' I miss my little brother," she wrote. "The one who listened without judgement and loved me unconditionally. There are no words to express how much I miss you. Happy Birthday Bean."
Alex Rodriguez took to Twitter with a sweet post. "Legends are missed, but never forgotten. I had the pleasure of calling Kobe Bryant my friend for 20 years," the retired athlete shared. "Nobody, and I mean nobody, worked harder and more passionately to be great, day in and day out. As a player, as a coach, as a mentor, as a husband and as a father."
Dwyane Wade captioned his Instagram, "We miss you Kobe Bean Bryant! Happy Birthday."
"Happy Bday my brother!! Miss you man," LeBron James wrote.
Nike released a short film in honor of the late Lakers icon, which was narrated by Kendrick Lamar. "Kobe taught us to be better. A better scorer, better mentor, better father, better champion. Today, on his birthday, we continue his endless pursuit of better," the brand expressed on Twitter.