Kobe Bryant‘s daughter Gianna was honored alongside Alyssa Altobelli and Peyton Chester during the WNBA draft.
The event which held on Friday, April 17, 2020, saw the WNBA recognize players in a virtually hosted draft for the class of 2024.
Cathy Engelbert, the WNBA commissioner, opened the night with a speech in honor of the late Kobe Bryant, Gianni, and others.
“Kobe was not only a legendary basketball star, but a devoted youth coach and had a tremendous impact on countless young players.
I met Kobe last fall and after he left our office, I remember thinking that his passion for the WNBA and girls basketball was unparalleled from anyone else I had ever met.
Alongside Kobe, eight others were lost that sad day in January, including three rising basketball stars; Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant and Peyton Chester.
These athletes represented the future of the WNBA. Players who were following their passions, acquiring knowledge of the game, exhibiting skills that were way beyond their years.
They represented the next generation of stars in our league, maybe what might have been the Mambacita generation.
While it brings us pain not to see their dreams come to fruition, I’m grateful and proud to announce them tonight as honorary draft picks.”
Kobe’s widow, Vanessa Bryant then expressed her pride in not just Gianna but Alyssa, Peyton and other players inspired by her late husband.
She stated how bittersweet it was that Gianna was not present to witness her dream come true, especially since she worked tirelessly everyday for it.
“She wanted to be one of the greatest athletes of all time just like her daddy. Thank you for honoring my little girl. Kobe and Gigi loved the WNBA”, Vanessa said.
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