Sabrina Ionescu, Kobe Bryant's Mentee, Makes History After Speaking at Staples Center Celebration of Life

Just hours after giving a moving speech at the celebration of life memorial service, Kobe Bryant's mentee, Sabrina Ionescu, made college basketball history. On Monday night, the 22-year-old athlete, who plays for the University of Oregon Ducks, became the first Division I player (male or female) to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds, according to ESPN. She also recorded her 26th career triple-double during the game against the Stanford Cardinals.

According to the outlet, the player, who played while battling the flu, reached 2,000 points and 1,000 assists during a previous game this season, though she needed nine more rebounds to break the record. She achieved that milestone in the third quarter and went on to get a 10th rebound in the fourth.

The Oregon Ducks ultimately won the game 74-66, after which Ionescu told ESPN she did it for Bryant.

"That one was for him," she told the outlet. "To do it on 2-24-20 is huge. We talked about it in the pre-season. I can't really put it into words. He's looking down and really proud of me and just really happy for this moment with my team."

Ionescu now has 2,467 points, 1,041 assists and 1,003 rebounds in her career.

Just a few hours earlier, Ionescu had taken the stage at the Staples Center to deliver a moving tribute to her late mentor, who tragically died in a Jan. 26 Calabasas helicopter crash alongside eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

"I grew up watching Kobe Bryant—game after game, ring after ring, living his greatness without apology," she said at the service, according to CNN. "I wanted to be just like him—to love every part of the competition, to be the first to show up and the last to leave, to love the grind, to be your best when you don't feel the best and make other people around you the best version of themselves and to wake up and do it again the next day. So that's what I did: wake up, grind and get better."

0comments

She went on to recall the moment she met Bryant and Gianna, saying that while he congratulated her on the win they had that day, he also advised, "'Don't shoot yourselves in the foot.'"

"If I represented the present of the women's game, Gigi was the future and Kobe knew it, so we decided to build a future together," she continued. "His vision for me was way bigger than my own. More importantly, he didn't just show up in my life and leave. He stayed. He was giving me the blueprint. He was giving Gigi the same blueprint. He united us."