Following his Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant became involved in a number of different things.
Bryant was most importantly focused on being a father, but also worked tirelessly as a writer and producer, winning an Oscar for those efforts. He also became an advocate for women’s sports, particularly the WNBA.
Due to his daughter Gianna Bryant’s love for basketball, he became a devoted fan and supporter of the women’s game so that she would have the same opportunities as him. He mentored and trained several different prominent women’s athletes including Sabrina Ionescu.
After the success of his invite-only mini-camp for NBA players in August, Bryant decided to host a similar event for WNBA players after conversing with McBride. The camp took place from Jan. 13-15 at his Mamba Sports Academy in the Los Angeles suburb of Thousand Oaks.
Bryant cited his men’s camp in August as the reason for doing a women’s camp:
“How can we do a men’s camp and not a women’s one?” Bryant told the Mamba Academy staff in the fall, shortly after the NBA camp.
Bryant was one of the major people to help progress women’s basketball today as he spoke about it publicly just as often as the men’s game. In fact, he really had no interest in revisiting the men’s game until his daughter asked him to.
Bryant simply wanted his daughter to have an opportunity to make a name for herself in the WNBA and did everything he could to make that happen.
Perhaps even more heartbreaking than his death is that of his daughter as it was clear she was going to do big things and forge her own legacy in an up-and-coming WNBA. She was destined to attend UCONN and play for their historic women’s basketball program.
Bryant’s legacy has many parts to it, but his support of women’s basketball may have the longest-lasting impact.