How Vanessa Bryant and La La Anthony Bonded Beyond Their Roles as Basketball Wives

Kobe Bryant was recently honored by the Basketball Hall of Fame. The honor came after the NBA legend died at 41. On Jan. 26, 2020, Bryant, his daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, and several passengers lost their lives during a helicopter crash. Over the last year, Bryant has leaned on the couple’s living daughters, as well as her friends. One of the former dancer’s strongest supporters is actor La La Anthony. 

Vanessa Bryant and La La Anthony met through their husbands

Bryant and Kobe saw each other for the first time at his video shoot. In addition to playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, the Black Mamba briefly pursued a rap career. During the video production, Kobe exchanged numbers with Bryant, who worked as a background dancer. From there, the couple was inseparable. After two years of dating, they got married on April 18, 2001. Throughout their marriage, the couple had four daughters- Natalia Bryant, Gigi, Bianka Bryant, and Capri Bryant. 

While Bryant was adjusting to her new life as a basketball player’s wife, La La connected with her husband, Carmelo Anthony. Although both of them are from Brooklyn, New York, they didn’t meet until 2003. At the time, Anthony got drafted to the Denver Nuggets, and La La was a host on TRL. The pair dated for several years before welcoming their son, KiYan Anthony, in 2007. In 2010, they got married on their VH1 show, La La’s Full Court Wedding

Through supporting their husbands on the court, Bryant and La La became close friends. The Power actor’s relationship with Bryant goes back to before she was a mother of four. 

“I’ve been a part of their lives from before they were even thought of, so just to continue to be a part of their journey is amazing,” La La shared with Entertainment Tonight. “And to be ‘Auntie La La,’ and to always be there for them no matter what is an amazing thing and responsibility that I don’t take lightly. That’s my family, and that’s what it’s always gonna be. I’m always [going to have] their best interests at heart no matter what.”

Vanessa Bryant and La La Anthony became closer after Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant died

Bryant and La La’s friendship grew more robust in 2020. Following the deaths of Kobe, Gianna, her teammates, and their families, Bryant often used social media to mourn them. While sharing photos of herself with Kobe and Gigi, Bryant also posted pictures and videos with La La and their friend, Ciara. On many occasions, the moms get together with their kids for TikTok videos and other activities. 

In the same ET interview, La La said she and Bryant have only gotten closer since Kobe and Gigi died. She also shared that KiYan’s bonds with Bryant’s daughters connect them even more now. 

“They [the kids] look at themselves as cousins, and they do a lot together,” she said. “It’s really cool just to see our kids grow up together and be able to have so many great experiences together,” Anthony points out. “You want that as friends.” 

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