It’s been just over two years since Vanessa Bryant lost husband Kobe and 13-year-old daughter Gigi in a devastating helicopter crash. Yet through her unfathomable grief, she has been the model of grace in finding a way to honor their athletic legacies through the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation.
So, when she presented the inaugural Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award on Sunday night at the NBA All-Star game, that should have been the only story.
Vanessa Bryant presents CP3 with the inaugural Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award ❤️ pic.twitter.com/I0SkmkyfCy
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 21, 2022
Unfortunately, Twitter decided to take the moment to comment about her appearance instead of praising her giving heart. And yes, most of the comments (but not all) came from men, which just added another layer to the sexism. One account wrote, “Is it me or did Vanessa Bryant put on some weight?”.
Another user added, “She looks pregnant to me.” Of course, there’s always the person who thinks they are being helpful, writing, “Everyone saying Vanessa Bryant got fat but I think that coat is just big. If she has been eating her pain away so what. People do what they gotta do to survive. She can hire a personal trainer if it gets out control.” It’s disheartening to read the comments, especially when Vanessa looked absolutely stunning in her all-black ensemble.
Anyone who has mourned a loved one knows that grief can be a beast — there is no timeline for how long it takes, and it can hit you in waves. Vanessa has shown tremendous strength through such a shocking event while helping her other three kids, Natalia, 19, Bianca, 5, and Capri, 2, navigate their emotions through the tragedy. She should be allowed the space to grieve without internet commentary about her weight.
There were plenty of kindhearted people who defended Vanessa’s honor and spoke up the moment her name started trending for the wrong reasons. But it’s Kelli Fields, who summed it up best, “People sitting on Twitter talking about Vanessa Bryant‘s weight… Whether she’s pregnant, large or wearing a big coat is no one’s business. She’s beautiful and brave. I hope you never, EVER have to be publicly ridiculed. Something tells me you wouldn’t be able to take it.” That’s the kind of support Vanessa deserves.