The Dodgers are honoring Kobe Bryant on Friday night, and the late Lakers legend’s oldest daughter will play a key role in the celebration.
Natalia Bryant will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Dodgers’ game against the Atlanta Braves as part of the annual Lakers Night festivities at Dodger Stadium.
The 20-year-old USC student and IMG model is a year younger than her father was when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Dodgers’ game against the San Diego Padres on June 27, 2000.
“Being his daughter is one of the greatest joys of my life, and I hope to continue to embody and cherish the many lessons he has taught me,” Natalia Bryant said during a ceremony honoring her father at TCL Chinese Theatre in May.
In a Dodgers Instagram post announcing her participation in the event, Bryant is seen wearing a necklace featuring the word “Slim.” She explained the significance of the accessory in a 2022 video for Vogue.
“This is a necklace that says ‘Slim.’ That was my nickname growing up,” she said. “I was just so eency-teency. All my jerseys said slim. I didn’t grow into the jerseys until I was, like, older, so my dad would always call me Slim.”
On Aug. 23, which would have been Kobe’s 45th birthday, Natalia Bryant posted a photo on Instagram of her father holding her as a young child. In the picture, Kobe Bryant is wearing a Dodgers cap.
Kobe and Gianna Bryant were among the nine people who died in a helicopter crash Jan. 26, 2020. Gianna was the second-oldest of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant’s four daughters. She would have turned 17 in May.
The Dodgers will be giving away special baseball jerseys honoring Kobe Bryant at Friday’s game. The front features “Dodgers” and the No. 8 , the jersey number Bryant wore for his first 10 seasons. The back says “Bryant” with the No. 24, the jersey number he wore during his final 10 seasons.
The jerseys will not be handed out stadium-wide, but are only for fans who purchased a special event ticket package for the sold-out game.