Transcript for Reflecting on Kobe Bryant’s legacy a year after his death
Once upon a time, there was a young basketball player who had dreams of becoming one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Now kobe, oh, he is hard to believe! Welcome to the kobe show. I've decided to skip college and take my talent to the NBA. Kobe Bryant, 18-year-old rookie! How good is this kid? He works day and night, every day, for years and years and years and years and years. We finally got a championship. Two back! That's three, that's three. On to the next one. Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest players to play the game. As time went on, what you come to realize is the most important thing is how your career touches those around you. He said, I'm a girl dad. I would have five more girls if I could. This is our greatest. He was the one who was providing legitimacy to our game. If I can inspire athletes to do something epic. To me, that's success. North star, to always inspire. That's what makes true greatness. What defines a legacy? Is it stats? Championships? A mindset? Kobe Bryant had it all. But for women's basketball, perhaps the most important thing he left behind is inspiration. As a wnba player, every day we face so many stigmas and stereotypes, that entire narrative that women are less than, women don't deserve visibility. That was going away with kobe simply walking into an arena and cheering us on. He came to a lot of our gains, he was at oar all-star game last year. He went to UConn games, he was at an Oregon game. Kobe was like, how do you get fans in seats? He was known for sponsoring elite women's athletes in the wnba. I think kobe's legacy helps us be more innovaive around that. What can I say? Mamba out. I think the minute he was finished playing, it was, okay, I took everything out of this game that I could possibly take, how do I help other players get better? This incredible amount of women's basketball players had a chance to work with him. And they came away thinking, he's a fan, and he wants us to get better, and he stays in contact with you. Hey, I watched you play the other night. Who does that? He did. This was a second act for kobe. Why would he say to Adam silver, I don't want to talk about the NBA, I want to talk about the wnba, and I want to meet the new commissioner. And I'm six weeks into the job. It was in his DNA to try to be great at everything. I think we only saw it through the lens of basketball for so long. He was like, okay, I'm transitioning from giving my all on the court to giving my all through different mediums to my daughters. Him being able to coach his team and have his daughter on that team I think was huge for him. He wanted to be the best father, but also the best coach that he could. I think through his daughter, he was able to do that. As we learn to accept what the sports world is like without him, one thing is certain. Kobe Bryant may have just been scratching the surface. And his legacy will continue to ignite the popularity of women's hoops. He wanted to do more. He wanted to get more involved. He wanted to expand mamba academy and dig deeper into it and just add more layers to it. In that area, with those kids, the imprint is immeasurable. You know, they don't remember as much kobe the guy fist pumping because he just won an NBA championship. They remember him sitting on the bench trying to get them to be better, or him being at practice trying to show them something. He's always respected and co-signed our game. After he retired, we started piecing it together like, this is our greatest male ally. Him coming to our games, him bringing his daughter, has truly helped our game grow in ways we didn't even imagine. And it's unfortunate that we recognize this once it's gone. But the beautiful thing is that now we have so many people that should be warriors and people that want to carry on his legacy forever. And that's the beauty in the tragedy. If you guys can understand that, then I'm doing my job as a father. Kobe was the MVP of girl dads. He taught them how to be brave and how to keep pushing forward when things get tough. He would sing them silly songs and continue making them laugh. He loved being Gianna's basketball coach. Our youngest, Gianna, is 12, she's practicing playing basketball every single day. One dribble stepback. That should be labeled unfair. I asked if he wanted more children. And without hesitation he said, "I would have five more girls if I could." "I'm a girl dad." If I had the power to turn back time, I would never use it. I'd think about it. Because then every moment that you go through means absolutely nothing because you could always go back and do it again so it loses its flavor, it loses its beauty. Things are final, you know moments won't ever come again. You can stream the full sportscenter special "Kobe, the legend, the legacy" on the ESPN
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