Amid the reports pouring in as Kobe’s life was examined from every angle—the exalted highs and career-threatening lows, the triumphant and the tumultuous, his awe-inspiring skills and his all-too-human flaws—came an ESPN segment that particularly stood out amid all the rest, one that paid tribute to an aspect of Kobe’s life that both highlighted his best qualities and which countless people could actually relate to.
Recalling meeting Kobe backstage at an event when she was 8 months pregnant, SportsCenter anchor Elle Duncan told of how he immediately asked her how far along she was and what was she having. When Duncan told him she was having a girl, he gave her a high five and gushed, “Girls are the best!” She asked if he had any advice, and Kobe told her, “Just be grateful that you’ve been given that gift because girls are amazing.”
Asked if he wanted more children, the father of then only three—Natalia, Gigi and Bianka—said that wife Vanessa Bryant was up for trying again, because perhaps they’d finally have a boy. Then asked what he would do if he became a dad to four girls, Kobe told Duncan, “I would have five more girls if I could. I’m a girl dad.” (He and Vanessa welcomed daughter Capri in June 2019.)
With tears welling, the host signed off, saying, “When I reflect on this tragedy and that half an hour that I spent with Kobe Bryant two years ago, I suppose that the only small source of comfort for me is knowing that he died doing what he loved the most—being a dad. Being a girl dad.”