By Zac Cornell
By now we have all read countless articles and Instagram tributes to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna who was universally believed to be a future basketball superstar like her father. In fact, Kobe claimed that his daughter was better than he was at her age. Their loss is devastating for so many reasons, especially in regards to what was still to come for both of them and the rest of their fellow passengers lost in the tragedy.
In addition to coaching and promoting his daughter, Kobe was an important supporter for women in basketball and women in all sports. Recently during an interview, Kobe was asked about his daughter’s future in the NBA. He turned the conversation to women playing professional basketball now.
“I think there are a couple of players who could play in the NBA right now, honestly,” Kobe said. “There’s a lot of players with a lot of skill that could do it. Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Elena Delle Donne. There’s a lot of great players out there, so they could certainly keep up with them.”
Kobe’s comments gave valuable recognition to female basketball players who don’t get nearly as much attention as their male counterparts. However these players’ accomplishments are worthy of way more attention. Diana Taurasi is the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer, was the 2009 WNBA MVP, and is a nine-time All Star and three-time champion. Maya Moore was the 2014 WNBA MVP, is a six-time All Star and has won four titles. Elena Delle Donne became the first WNBA player to join the 50-40-90 club, was named the WNBA MVP two times including this year, and is a six-time All Star. She won her first WNBA title this year and as MVP led her team, the Washington Mystics, to win the franchise’s first championship in its history, despite many injuries.
While LeBron James promised to carry on Kobe’s legacy as a top scorer for the LA Lakers, it would be nice if some of today’s NBA superstars pick up the mantle of promoting women basketball players and other female athletes.