Along with being a legendary athlete, Kobe Bryant was a dedicated dad to his four daughters, and a newly surfaced photo is sharing a sweet moment when he combined those two worlds for a career day at his daughter Gianna's school. The throwback snap shows Bryant in his full Lakers uniform posing with a young Gianna, who was in her own school uniform and wearing one of her dad's Olympic gold medals around her neck.
Gigi wanted Kobe to come to her school's Career Day.February 25, 2020
After his retirement from the NBA in 2016, Bryant focused on mentoring others in the sport he loved so much, including Gianna. He coached her basketball team at Mamba Sports Academy, and the two were on their way to a game there when the helicopter they were in crashed, killing them and seven others.
In her eulogy on Monday, Vanessa Bryant shared how much her husband loved coaching Gianna and his dedication to helping his other daughters grow their own passions.
"He loved being Gianna's basketball coach," she said. "He told me he wished he would have convinced Natalia to play basketball so they could have spent even more time together. But he also wanted her to pursue her own passion. He watched Natalia play in a volleyball tournament on her birthday, on January 19th, and he noticed how she's a very intelligent player. He was convinced she would have made a great point guard, with her vision of the court."
Sabrina Ionescu, a basketball player at the University of Oregon who was mentored by Kobe after meeting him and Gianna at an Oregon-USC game, also spoke at the memorial and called Gianna "the future."
"If I represented the women's game, Gigi was the future, and Kobe knew it," Ionescu said. "So we decided to build a future together. ...
"She always wanted to learn and to go to every game she could — college, NBA, WNBA," she said of Gianna. "Kobe was helping her with that because he saw it in her. Just like he saw it in me. His vision for others is always bigger than that for themselves. His vision for me was way bigger than my own."
Vanessa added in her eulogy that her daughter "would have most likely become the best player in the WNBA."0comments
"She would have made a huge difference," she said. "She would have made a huge difference for women's basketball. Gigi was motivated to change the way everyone viewed women in sports."
Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images