While it’s still unclear when the next real sporting event will be, April 17 brought a bit of a return to sports with the 2020 WNBA Draft.
The draft, done virtually, saw 36 college players brought into the WNBA to begin their professional career.
However, prior to the No. 1 pick, the WNBA honored Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli, and Payton Chester — the three young girls who lost their lives on Jan. 26 — by making them honorary draftees.
The three girls were selected to the league in a heartfelt tribute that featured family members such as Chester’s father, Altobelli’s brother and sister, and Bryant’s mother.
Vanessa Bryant’s words following the selection of her daughter were nearly as touching and heartbreaking as the tribute itself, via WNBA:
— WNBA (@WNBA) April 17, 2020
Although the draft was forced to be conducted virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the WNBA still managed a beautiful celebration of the lives of these three girls.
While fans will never get to see what could have been legendary basketball careers, their names will always be synonymous with the WNBA as honorary draftees.
Bryant’s words thanking the WNBA for this tribute is yet another testament to her unparalleled strength in what can only be described as a tragedy. Much like her speech at ‘A Celebration of Life,’ Bryant spoke eloquently about her daughter and husband in a way that very few could given the circumstances.
While the world at large faces a very difficult battle, it’s heartwarming to know that many in the sports world are still thinking about the lives lost on Jan. 26 — a date that feels so long ago given everything that’s happened since.