Proud pops! Kobe Bryant was many things to many people, but to his daughters he was the ultimate “girl dad.”
Following the Lakers star’s death, celebrities and fans alike shared tributes to the late athlete, but it was ESPN anchor Elle Duncan’s touching story about the 41-year-old basketball player and his love of his girls that went viral.
On Monday, January 27, the SportsCenter host shared a heartwarming story of when she was pregnant in May 2018 and met the legendary star. When Bryant found out that Duncan was expecting a girl, he high-fived her and said, “Girls are the best!” the anchor recalled.
“He said, ‘Just be grateful that you’ve been given that gift because girls are amazing,’” Duncan recounted. At the time, Bryant and his wife, Vanessa Bryant, only had three daughters. Duncan joked about what would happen if they expanded their family and didn’t get a boy, to which the NBA star said, “I would have five more girls if I could. I’m a girl dad.”
The story sparked dads everywhere, including celebrity fathers who are blessed with daughters, to share their love for their own girls in honor of the two-time Olympic gold medalist, who died on Sunday, January 26. The former NBA star was killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, that claimed the lives of eight other people, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
Kobe and Vanessa also shared daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson posted a series of photos with his daughter with the hashtag, “girldad,” via Twitter on the same day. Athletes, rappers and celebrities alike took to social media to get the hashtag trending.
Kobe, whose identity was confirmed using fingerprints by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office on Tuesday, January 28, always gushed about his four girls.
“I think she wants a boy more than I do,” he said in March 2019. “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.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see how stars honored Kobe’s “girl dad” side.