The late Gianna Bryant would be celebrating her 14th birthday today.
I’m on a mission to get more familiar with her game. She trained with her father, Kobe, just about every day and passionately pursued her hoop dreams. Friends of Gianna and the Bryant family all say that she had the “Mamba” bug too.
Lakers assistant Coach Phil Handy is close to the Bryant family. In an article for the Undefeated he shared that, “Gigi was reminiscent of her father.” He continued, “she was shooting fadeaways, turnarounds, she was nice. She was a hooper for real. It wasn’t like he was forcing her. She had a love for the game, you can tell.”
We may never get to see Gianna’s potential unfold but one thing for certain is that she was headed to the record books. With a motor like she appears to have had, she was sure to change the game and the WNBA was already taking note. During this year’s WNBA draft, Gianna Bryant was drafted as an honorary draftee. Gigi’s teammates, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester were also drafted. All three young ladies lost their lives in a tragic helicopter crash earlier this year.
“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,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said.
— WNBA (@WNBA) April 17, 2020
The “Mambacita” was a leader.
But, we all know that was no secret. The more I look at her highlights, her leadership qualities shine brighter each time.
She led the Mamba Academy 8th grade team to some great moments. Each pass and shot was done with the utmost precision and she appeared to never hesitate to ask a question. Like other good leaders, the players around her responded to her leadership and drive.
Check out the highlights from the 8th grade championship in 2019. Bryant played alongside MacKenley Randolph, daughter of NBA star Zach Randolph.
The “Mambacita” legacy lives on.
You know, this is something that we will never be able to fully understand. I’m a firm believer of the domino effect and the thought that one idea leads to another. Millions of little girls across the world are becoming more abreast with Gianna’s legacy.
Personally, I think that will be contagious.
Her drive and passion has surely inspired other women across the world. I believe that years from now we’ll look back and see that Gianna’s legacy is still alive and well. Happy birthday, Gigi!