Words of wisdom! Kobe Bryant spoke directly to his daughters during his jersey retirement night in December 2017, two years ahead of his fatal helicopter crash on Sunday, January 26.
“You guys know that if you do the work, you work hard enough, dreams come true,” the late Olympian basketball player, 41, told Natalia, 17, Gianna, 13, and Bianka, 3, at the time. “You know that, we all know that. But hopefully what you get from tonight is that those times when you get up early and you work hard, those times when you stay up late and you work hard, those times when don’t feel like working — you’re too tired, you don’t want to push yourself — but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream. That’s the dream. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”
The basketball legend added, “If you guys can understand that, what you’ll see happen is that you won’t accomplish your dreams, your dreams won’t come true, something greater will. And if you guys can understand that, then I’m doing my job as a father.”
The late Los Angeles Lakers player and his daughter Gianna tragically died on Sunday when the athlete’s private chopper crashed and caught fire in Calabasas, California. The father-daughter pair are survived by wife and mom, Vanessa Bryant, as well as Natalia, Bianka and 7-month-old Capri.
While the late teenager was planning on a collegiate career at the University of Connecticut and making it to the WNBA, not all of Kobe’s daughters wanted to follow in his athletic footsteps. That being said, the former shooting guard and his wife, 37, pushed all of their girls to pursue “excellence.”
The Philadelphia native explained this to Jimmy Kimmel during an October 2018 appearance, saying, “We try to give them a foundation of the amount of work that it takes to be excellent. Playing basketball, we’re going to focus on the details. We’re going to learn the basics, learn the fundamentals and do those things over and over.”
He and Vanessa welcomed baby No. 4 in June and were considering trying for a son. “I think she wants a boy more than I do,” Kobe told Extra of the California native in March. “I love having girls — I’m super, super excited about that. She is as well. She wanted a boy so he can be mama’s boy forever — that sort of thing. We’ll see if I can deliver, I don’t know.”
The Wizenard Series: Training Camp creator retired from the NBA in 2016 after 20 seasons and five championships.