The pain over the loss of Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, and the 7 others who died in a helicopter crash over Calabasas isn’t going away anytime soon, and even though it’s hard to stomach, it’s heart-warming to see how many people and organizations are still honoring the late legends.
The 2020 WNBA draft was livestreamed on Friday night, showcasing the most impressive talent that will be making their way onto the court next season. At the beginning of the ceremony, Gigi and her other two teammates who tragically passed away in the helicopter crash, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, were selected as honorary draft picks. All three girls had their names read out by WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert in alphabetical order during the virtual show.
“These athletes represented the future of the WNBA,” Engelbert said. “Players who were following their passions, acquiring knowledge of the game, exhibiting skills that were way beyond their years and they represented the next generation of stars in our league.”
Vanessa Bryant posted about the honor on Instagram, letting her daughter know how proud she is while also expressing just how hard this whole grieving process has been.
“I’m so proud of you, Gigi. God I miss you baby. You deserved to live a long, healthy and happy life. I wish I could hold you and tell you how proud I am of you. You’re the best, baby girl. Mommy loves and misses you more than I could ever express,” she wrote under of photo of Gianna in her jersey. “@WNBA #2 Gianna “Gigi” Bryant Youngest draft pick. My “mambacita” a.k.a. Wings”
Along with the honorary draft pick, the WNBA also announced the Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award, which honors individuals or groups who have made significant contributions to the progression of girls’ and women’s basketball.
Congratulations, Gigi. Mambacita forever.