Kobe Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, was honorary pick in Friday night’s WNBA Draft


Vanessa Bryant, Kobe's wife, spoke after Gigi's pick was announced.

"We look forward to seeing who will carry the torch in years to come", Engelbert said, before closing in true Mamba fashion. "The Kobe and Gigi Bryant Advocacy Award will honour their legacy and reflect Kobe's commitment to mentoring the next generation of players, promoting the game and giving back to the community".

"Gianna Maria-Onor'e Bryant #GigiBryant #Mambacita #Wings You did it!"

It's only fitting that on Friday - almost three months after he and eight others died in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles - that Bryant's legacy was front and center during the WNBA draft. The league honored the three players by drafting them into the league to start the night.

OR star Sabrina Ionescu, who was the first overall selection in the draft taken by the New York Liberty, said the girls deserved this honor.

Gianna, known as Gigi, made no secret of her desire to one day follow her father's footsteps in professional basketball and play in the WNBA.

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Bryant's dedication to the women's game was immeasurable. "She would have made a huge difference in women's basketball". "That was going away with Kobe just simply walking into an arena and cheering us on".

The ceremony included Diana Taurasi and Sabrina Ionescu, friends of the Bryant family.

Vanessa Bryant took to Instagram where she notified her followers about the event and how they can watch it. Bryant featured Ionescu on his "Details" show to break down her game just as he did with star men's players.

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on November 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Hays began with ESPN in 1999. She knew Bryant well from each competing at the Olympics with Team USA.

During the evening's proceedings on April 17, ESPN announced that the WNBA honored the memories of basketball teammates Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester after the helicopter accident that claimed the 13-year-olds' lives on January 26.