ESPN Anchor's Tribute To 'Girl Dad' Kobe Bryant Will Bring You To Tears
By Lauren Crawford
January 28, 2020
Kobe Bryant wasn't a regular dad, he was a "girl dad."
Following the NBA legend's tragic passing on Sunday (January 26), SportsCenter anchor Elle Duncan spoke of her first and only interview with Kobe, which centered on parenthood and more specifically his love for his four daughters — Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, Capri, 7 months, and Gianna (a.k.a. Gigi), 13, who died alongside her father and seven other passengers in the fatal helicopter crash.
"I met Kobe one time backstage at an event for ESPN in New York," she shared. "I saw him and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, that's Kobe. I've gotta get a picture for the ‘gram.' I didn't get it for a few minutes because, as I approached him, he immediately commented on my rather large, eight-month pregnant belly."
"'How are you? How close are you? What are you having?" Elle recalled of Kobe excitedly asking her about her pregnancy. "'A girl,' I said and then he high-fived me [and replied]: ‘Girls are the best.'" She continued, "I asked him for advice on raising girls, seeing as though he quite famously had three at the time, and he said, ‘Just be grateful that you've been given that gift because girls are amazing.'"
The ESPN anchor went on to detail how Kobe's daughter Bianka was about 36-months-old at the time, so she asked him if he wanted more children. "He said that his wife Vanessa really wanted to try again for a boy, but was sort of jokingly concerned that it would be another girl," Elle explained. "I was like, ‘Four girls, are you joking? Like, what would you think? How would you feel?' And without hesitation he said, ‘I would have five more girls if I could. I'm a girl dad.'"
"When it came to sports, he said that his oldest daughter was an accomplished volleyball player and that the youngest was a toddler, so tbd," she added. "But that middle one, he said, ‘That middle one was a monster. She's a beast. She's better than I was at her age. She's got it.' That middle one, of course, was Gigi."
In fact, on Sunday morning, Kobe, Gigi, and seven other passengers were on their way to Kobe's Mamba Academy for one of Gigi's basketball tournament.
"When I reflect on this tragedy and that half an hour that I spent with Kobe Bryant two years ago. I suppose that the only small source of comfort for me is knowing that he died doing what he loved the most: being a dad, being a girl dad," Elle concluded.
Rest in Peace, Mamba, Gigi, Sarah & Payton Chester, girls’ basketball coach Christina Mauser, college baseball coach John Altobelli, his daughter Alyssa Altobelli and wife Keri Altobelli, and pilot Ara Zobayan.
Photo: Getty Images