One of the most memorable events that happened this year for the NBA was the death of Kobe Bryant. Bryant or famously called the “Black Mamba,” was an icon in basketball and will always be a legend among Lakers fans and even in NBA history.
On January 26th, he and his 13-year old daughter Gianna Bryant or “Gigi”, also nicknamed as Mambacita, and seven others tragically died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. They were travelling to Camarillo Airport for a basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks. Like her father, Gigi had a passion for basketball and had dreamed of making it into the WNBA. Kobe also had big plans for his daughter and wanted her to reach those dreams.
A Touching Tribute by Former NBA Teammate
The sweetest way to honour his friend and his daughter, Pau Gasol, gave his newborn daughter the name “Elisabet Gianna Gasol,” her middle name was taken from Gianna Bryant’s name.
On his Instagram, Gasol posted, “Our little one has finally arrived!! The delivery went really well and we couldn’t be happier!! Elisabet Gianna Gasol, a very meaningful name for our super beautiful daughter!! #girldad.”
While his wife, Catherine, posted on hers: “Elisabet Gianna Gasol joined our family on September 10th, 2020. She made a quick and easy entrance on a VERY special day, her great-grandmother Elizabeth’s 100th birthday and her mom and dad’s 2nd engagement anniversary. We are already so in love with our sweet Ellie!! #GasolFamilyOf3 #girlmom #girldad #EllieGasol”
What is also touching in these posts is Pau and Catherine’s use of the hashtag #GirlDad. The hashtag trended worldwide as a way for fathers across the globe to pay tribute to Kobe after his death. It was a way to celebrate their relationships with their daughters.
Close Relationship with Kobe
Both Gasol and Kobe had played on the NBA team Los Angeles Lakers from 2008 to 2014. In 2009 and 2010, they had won two NBA championships. The pair remained close until Kobe’s death. In the Players’ Tribune, a collection of stories that was compiled last August, Kobe’s former teammates and players who faced him recounted their experiences and moments with the remarkable basketball player.
For Gasol, he wrote, “I don’t believe that Kobe ever took a break. It was championship mode, pure and simple. The six and a half years I played with Kobe were my best basketball years. I learned the most about my game, and a big reason was number 24.”
Many basketball players and fans have been deeply affected by Kobe’s death, but they know that his memory and legacy lives on. The future of basketball is still promising, and legends and icons will rise. But of course, none will ever replace the Black Mamba.
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