The San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers were fierce competitors on the court but that didn’t stop these two legends from sharing a common goal
Earlier this year the loss of a basketball legend shocked the world. Kobe Bryant had gone head to head with some of the best San Antonio Spurs teams ever and had given the sport of basketball his all over the course of his career. But in his retirement, he was focused on something even bigger.
One of the most heartbreaking moments in the wake of his passing was Elle Duncan remembering their first meeting on Sports Center. The thing that stood out to Duncan, and so many others, was how excited Kobe was to be a girl dad. He loved his daughters and loved supporting them in what they did. For his daughter Gianna, that was basketball.
Between coaching GiGi’s team, running his Mamba Sports Academy, and picking the brain of renowned coaches like Geno Auriemma to find ways to help his girls improve, Kobe was on his way to making a positive impact on women’s basketball. That was a passion that he shared with former San Antonio Spurs point guard, Tony Parker.
“We were sitting together having conversations about women’s basketball and how we can grow it. He knew that I owned a women’s team and was investing a lot in women’s basketball. It’s just sad that I can’t see him anymore. I wish we could have done all that stuff together, because we would have done great stuff together in women’s basketball.”
As the majority owner and president of ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne, a top tier French basketball club with both men’s and women’s teams, Parker is in prime position to help grow the women’s side of the game in Europe. Consider the basketball academy that he has in Lyons and his potential impact on the game is substantial.
Even though Kobe is gone his legacy and his aspirations for the women’s game live on. Led by athletes like A’ja Wilson and Sabrina Ionescu and supported by benefactors like Tony Parker the future is bright for women’s basketball.