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As stars, athletes, politicians and fans mourn Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna — who both died in a Calabasas, California, helicopter crash with seven others on Sunday — a 2018 Jimmy Kimmel interview has resurfaced, in which the NBA legend proudly talks about Gianna aspiring to be a basketball star and carry on his legacy.
Asked if Gianna would have liked to join the WNBA one day, Bryant responded without hesitation: “She does, for sure. This kid, man.”
Bryant — the father of four daughters with wife Vanessa Laine Bryant — then went on to describe how Gianna typically responded to those who suggested the couple try for a boy to carry on the Kobe Bryant legacy.
“Dude, man, I’m telling you — 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, ‘Hey, you got to have a boy. You and V got to have a boy and have somebody carry on the tradition, the legacy,'” Bryant shared. “She’s like, ‘Oy, I got this. You don’t need a boy for that.’ I’m like, ‘That’s right. Yes, you do. You got this.'”
Elsewhere in the interview with Kimmel, Bryant spoke about his approach to coaching his daughter’s basketball team after retiring from his position as a star player for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016.
“We try to teach the kids what excellence looks like. Right? And it’s not that — some of them may want to play in the WNBA, some of them may not — but we try to give them a foundation for the amount of work and preparation that it takes to be excellent in whatever it is that you choose to do,” Bryant said. “So, we’re here playing basketball. We’re going to focus on the details. We’re going to learn the basics, we’re going to learn the fundamentals. We’re going to do those things over and over. And hopefully it’s something that they can apply to other areas in their life.”
The sports icon (who played for 20 years with the Lakers and won five championships) and Oscar winner and his daughter died aboard a private helicopter when it crashed in Calabasas and started a fire. Bryant was 41.
He is survived by his wife Vanessa — whom he wed in 2001 — and their three other daughters: Natalia, 17; Bianka, 3; and Capri, 7 months.
Watch Bryant’s interview with Kimmel below.
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