Gianna and Kobe Bryant: A Legacy beyond Basketball.

Credit: Clutchpoints

Yesterday, 26th of January, 2020 will go down as one of the saddest days in history for basketball fans, sports and the world. 

The world lost an aspiring women basketball star in Gianna “Gigi” Bryant alongside her friend, Alyssa Altobelli who also aspired to play basketball professionally. 

She died alongside her father and 7 others bringing the death toll to 9. They were on their way to a basketball game in Oaks, California.  

Her father, Kobe Bryant remains one of the greatest NBA players in history. 

Kobe had a fantastic work ethic and personality which brought pride to the game and results for his team- Los Angeles Lakers throughout his 20-year stint with that great team playing alongside Shaquille O’Neal, Karl Malone, Dwight Howard and Gary Payton. 

Gianna Bryant evidently had a lot of good example to imbibe from her father. She was just 13-years old and she had the world before her not just because of her father's influence, but because of her work ethic, clarity, and decisiveness. 

Her obvious talent and commitment to basketball was such that; Reggie Miller, another basketball great, famous for his 3-points shoots in October 2018 asked Kobe to allow Gianna to play for UCLA, but Kobe told Miller that she insists on playing for UConn which was farther from home. 

Even her mother couldn’t convince the 13-year old Gianna to stay close to home because at 13 knew the best teams and wanted to play in the best team. 

She and her father intently studied the University of Connecticut women basketball team by watching their games physically and through videos; watching how they play, their emotional intelligence, their attitude to losses and everything that makes a great team. 

Gianna was that laser focused and deliberate.  We guess that attitude is one of the genetic perks, though significant attribute you get from be Kobe Bryant’s daughter. 

Kobe Bryant himself was drafted into the NBA in 1996 at 17. He joined from high school. And he refused to be smothered by the older players. If there was an ideal epitome for hard work, Kobe Bryant is one. 

Kobe would go on to win the NBA slam dunk contest in 1997, just 1 year after his NBA drafting  and 5 NBA championships in 2000,2001,2002,2009 and 2010. Kobe was the most valuable player (MVP) for 2008 in the NBA

The story of Gianna Bryant is a story of commitment and great parenting. Kobe travelled to a lot of games across America with her. Sometimes champions are born, other times they are nurtured. Gianna was being nurtured for greatness till this unfortunate event. Kobe died nurturing his daughter.

Kobe saw himself in Gianna and hoped she will carry on his legacy. We have recently seen the trend where fathers are beginning to groom their daughters for great things. 

It is happening even in Nigeria. Bella Disu and Halimat Dangote are a testament to this. 

At the end of the day, Kobe Bryant’s legacy extends beyond basketball. The very act of showing the world how to handle female children, nurturing them in difficult situations from an early age won’t go unnoticed. 

At WEEC we will hold on to this legacy of Kobe’s and we hope to extend the lesson in years to come. 

Gianna and Kobe Bryant are survived by Vanessa (Mother and Wife) and sisters (daughters); Natalia, Bianka and Capri Bryant. 

May their gentle souls Rest-in-Peace.

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