With all that’s going on in the world today, it’s easy to forget about some of the problems everyone had prior.
This isn’t the case with the tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, and seven others nearly three months ago. Despite the world facing bigger issues, it seems that remembering Bryant’s legacy is a mainstay in the basketball world.
These deaths have certainly not been forgotten by Sabrina Ionescu, the soon-to-be No. 1 pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft. Ionescu has openly dealt with the heartbreak of losing her idol and friend, delivering a beautiful speech at the public memorial held at Staples Center on Feb. 24.
When reflecting on the loss of the Bryant duo, Ionescu says that it’s still ‘not normal,’ according to Mirin Fader of Bleacher Report:
“I think it’s going to be one of those things I always feel. I can still think about it anytime and cry,” she says, speaking to Bleacher Report over the phone on a tough day in early April. “I’m not normal yet.”
Ionescu spoke about what life might have been like today if Bryant and his daughter were still here, joking about quarantining with them in Los Angeles:
“Thinking about that is hard,” she says. “If he was here, we’d probably all be quarantined together in L.A.” Her, Kobe, Gigi. Laughing. Enjoying being around basketball, being around one another.
There is perhaps no one in the world outside of the Bryant family who knew the relationship between the father and daughter better than Ionescu.
In his post-playing years, Bryant was a champion of women’s sports and the WNBA and saw something special in Ionescu in her early days at Oregon. Because of this, he made sure to build a relationship with her and create an even more important bond between Ionescu and his daughter.
There’s no doubt that Ionescu will keep the Bryant family close to her heart as she progresses through each step of her basketball journey.
Even as the world faces compete for uncertainty in the form of the global pandemic, Ionescu won’t forget two of the most important people in her young career.