When fans would see Kobe Bryant with his daughter, Gianna, they would often mention that he and his wife, Vanessa — parents to four girls — should have a boy, someone to carry on the Lakers star’s basketball legacy.
But Gianna, a 13-year-old avid player with professional basketball aspirations of her own, didn’t think her parents needed to have a boy to do that.
“The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans will come up to me and she’ll be standing next to me and they’ll be like, ‘Man, you got to have a boy, you and [Vanessa] got to have a boy, someone to carry on the tradition, the legacy.’ And she’s like ‘Oh wait. I got this. You don’t need a boy for that,’" Bryant said in a 2018 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
“I’m like ‘That’s right. Yes you do, you got this,’” Kobe Bryant said.
The anecdote was prompted by Kimmel’s questions about Bryant’s retired life, including his role as a coach to Gianna’s team and his approach to imparting the “Mamba Mentality."
“You try to teach the kids what excellence looks like. Some of them may want to play in the WNBA, some may not. But you try to give them a foundation of the amount of work and preparation that it takes to be excellent in whatever you want to do,” Bryant said.
When Kimmel asked if his daughter wanted to play basketball professionally, Bryant responded enthusiastically.
“She does for sure,” he said, to applause from the audience.
The father and daughter were on their way to a basketball tournament at Mamba Sports Academy Sunday morning when the helicopter they were in crashed into a steep hillside in Calabasas, Calif., killing all nine people on board.
Watch the full interview here: