Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, and others died in a helicopter crash on Sunday. Kobe was 41 and Gigi was 13.
The news shocked the world, including high-profile figures and players in women’s basketball. Many current and former players not only see Kobe Bryant as a legend for the NBA and L.A. Lakers, but considered him an idol in the sport.
They’ve also expressed appreciation for his support for the WNBA and women’s college basketball over the years since his retirement in 2016. His daughter Gigi was 13, and also played – she wanted to eventually play in the WNBA.
Rebecca Lobo broke down into tears while in studio for ESPN at halftime of the Oregon-Oregon State game. Legendary Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer was in Michigan for a Big 10 matchup. She grabbed the arm of the person who told her the news and repeatedly whispered, “Jesus Christ.”
“Everything I do, I do it for him, obviously,” Ionescu said after Oregon’s win over Oregon State Sunday. “He was a close friend, and this season’s for him.”
The WNBA itself weighed in as well.
“The WNBA mourns the sudden and tragic loss of NBA Great Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna,” the league said in a statement. “Kobe’s support for the WNBA and women’s basketball along with his passion for helping young girls and boys follow their dreams made him a true legend for our sport. On behalf of the WNBA, it is an incredibly sad day for all of us and we send our deepest condolences to his family and all those who mourn his passing.”
More reactions in women’s basketball:
Ben Rosof contributed to this report.
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