The Women’s National Basketball Association experienced their Virtual Draft for supporters. It saw numerous female athletes enter the WNBA at an unprecedented period, which’ll most likely see their 1st seasons postponed or cancelled amidst the virus. That wasn’t the focal point for the draft though, with the WNBA Organizers honouring Gianna Bryant. Nicknamed Gigi, she was a young basketball that stood as the daughter of Kobe Bryant. Both Kobe & Gianna passed away tragically in a helicopter crash earlier in 2020.
The WBNA also honoured Payton Chester and Alyssa Antonelli, the two other girls that were travelling with Gianna on that helicopter. All three were best friends on the same basketball team and cherished unexpectedly. Subsequently, January 26th has been cemented in WNBA and NBA history. It’s expected that honouring these women and Kobe Bryant will continue yearly. It’s an event that prompted nine lives being lost in a matter of seconds. However, Kobe and Gianna didn’t have to witness the worst epidemic in decades.
Vanessa Bryant, the Wife & Widow of Kobe Bryant, provided an emotional message through webcam via the WNBA Draft. She expressed her thanks for honouring Gianna, while also selecting her to become the honorary 2020 draft pick. Joining the WNBA was a dream for Gigi, and this would’ve been a marvellous wish come true. Vanessa cried throughout her remarks, feeling unrelenting pain for losing her daughter.
These sentiments from Vanessa Bryant were stated while she wore the “Kobe Bryant WNBA Sweatshirt”. She also remarked that Gianna Bryant would’ve gone onwards to become one of the most infamous and greatest athletes in basketball history, just like her father. Gianna worked daily to strive towards this goal, often taking advice and receiving training from Kobe. It should be noted that Kobe Bryant regularly advocated for the growth of female athletics, often providing his star power at events.
It’s suspected that Kobe Bryant prompted more than 1000+ female basketball teams to be created across North America. Both Kobe’s and Gianna’s inspiration won’t ever be forgotten. This was proven with the announcement that Kobe Bryant had been immediately inducted in the NBA Hall of Fame, two months after his passing.