The retired Los Angeles Lakers star died at age 41 in a helicopter crash last Sunday along with his 13-year-old Gianna, and seven other people.
“Never will I understand,” Brandy wrote on Instagram on Friday, alongside an image of Kobe hugging Gianna (see post below). “My condolences to @vanessabryant , the entire family, and all in pain during this tragic time. Love ♥️ #Mamba #Mambacita.”
According to one of Kobe’s friends and former classmates, the NBA icon long had a crush on Brandy.
“We were in English class together, and he had one of those teen magazines and it had a picture of Brandy because she was on that show, Moesha,” Ashley Pietropaolo previously told the Philadelphia Daily News. “He showed me and he said, ‘I’m gonna bring this girl to prom.’ And I was like ‘Whatever, you’re crazy.’ Every day, he would be like ‘I’m bringing this girl to prom.’”
And he did just that.
“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.
“I said I don’t know this guy. I had no idea who he was,” Brandy’s mother, Sonja Norwood, told the Philadelphia Daily News in 1996 (via E! Online) “And then Brandy said, ‘He’s a basketball player.’ And I said, ‘So?’”
“I liked that he had involved parents and he was doing well academically,” she added. “He seemed to be a pretty good kid. He was levelheaded and grounded. And I said OK.”
Brandy and Bryant initially met at the 1996 Essence Awards.
“He came home … and said, ‘I met such a nice, beautiful, intelligent, sweet person,’” his mother Pam Bryant told the Philadelphia Daily News at the time, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Brandy told TMZ in 2016 that she kept the prom dress.
“It was a special night,” she said.
Bryant would later co-star on Brandy’s comedy sitcom “Moesha.”