- NBA icon Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, died along with seven others in a tragic helicopter crash Sunday morning.
- In reflecting on her sole interaction with the Black Mamba, ESPN’s Elle Duncan shared a heartwarming anecdote in which Bryant – who, at the time, had three daughters – gushed about being a “girl dad.”
- “Girls are amazing,” Duncan recalled Bryant telling her. “I would have five more girls if I could.”
- After the clip began circulating on social media, dads began sharing photos of themselves with their daughters in solidarity with the late Los Angeles Lakers legend.
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Nearly every big name in the world of sports took a moment to reflect on the life and legacy of Kobe Bryant after the NBA icon, his 13-year-old daughter Gigi, and seven others died in a tragic helicopter crash Sunday morning.
But perhaps no anecdote was as emotional and raw as the one shared by ESPN anchor Elle Duncan.
On ESPN’s flagship program “SportsCenter” Monday night, Duncan recalled her one and only interaction with the Black Mamba. She was eight months pregnant at the time, and Bryant immediately took the opportunity to ask her when she was due and whether she knew the sex of her baby.
“‘A girl,'” she recalled saying. “He high-fived me. ‘Girls are the best.'”
“I asked him advice on raising girls, as he quite famously had three at the time,” Duncan added. “He said, ‘just be grateful that you’ve been given that gift because girls are amazing.’ His third daughter, Bianka, was about a year-and-a-half old at the time, so I asked if he wanted more children. He said that his wife Vanessa really wanted to try again for a boy, but was sort of jokingly concerned that it would be another girl. And I was like, ‘four girls, are you joking? What would you think? How would you feel?'”
“Without hesitation, he said ‘I would have five more girls if I could. I’m a girl dad.'”
The story quickly gained traction on social media and inspired many fathers to share photos of themselves with their own daughters with #girldad.
Kobe was 100% correct! Being a #girlDad is an amazing experience.
Every Dad should be blessed with a daughter. Lets see a pic of you and your daughter too. pic.twitter.com/hwC4Msi1zZ
— Matt Chernoff (@RealMattlanta) January 28, 2020
— RAMBOA™ (@RamboaRadio) January 28, 2020
— Kelvin of the Rocks (@TwinTwisterDad) January 28, 2020
— Scott Conant (@conantnyc) January 28, 2020
Duncan also choked up when recalling how Bryant raved about Gigi’s budding talent on the basketball court during their brief conversation.
“When it came to sports, he said that his oldest daughter was an accomplished volleyball player and that the youngest was a toddler, so TBD,” Duncan said, holding back tears. “But that middle one, he said that middle one was ‘a monster, she’s a beast. She’s better than I was at her age. She’s got it.’ That middle one, of course, was Gigi.”
“When I reflect on this tragedy, and that half hour I spent with Kobe Bryant two years ago,” she added, “I suppose that the only small source of comfort for me is knowing he died doing what he loved the most: being a dad. Being a girl dad.”
Bryant was 41 years old at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and three daughters.
Check out the full video of Duncan’s SportsCenter piece below:
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 28, 2020
- Read more:
- Photos of Kobe and Gigi Bryant show how the father-daughter duo shared a deep love for the game of basketball
- UConn Huskies pay tribute to the late Gigi Bryant during an emotional matchup against the US Women’s National Team
- Novak Djokovic got choked up at the Australian Open while discussing how he leaned on Kobe Bryant for advice
- LeBron James posts an emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant after his untimely death