Tributes to the late Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna are everywhere – from social media to network television – and all are filled with amazing stories about the NBA legend and how important his wife Vanessa and his four daughters were to him. But one that has really stood out was from ESPN host Elle Duncan.
In May 2018 when she was eight months pregnant, Duncan met Bryant for the first and only time. She explained that she had to take the opportunity to get a photo “for the ‘gram,’” but there was much more to their meeting.
I’m so moved by the outpouring of support behind my story about Kobe. And I love that #girldad is trending.. so for all those proud fathers who still have their girls to love on can you flood my timeline with pics of you and your flock. Honestly I need it as much as anyone rt now
— Elle Duncan (@elleduncanESPN) January 28, 2020
“I didn’t get it [the picture] for a few minutes ‘cause as I approached him, he immediately commented on my rather large, eight-month pregnant belly. ‘How are you? How close are you? What are you having?’” explained Duncan.
She said that when she told Bryant she was having a baby girl, he gave her a high-five and said, “Girls are the best!”
While breaking down into tears, Duncan revealed that she asked the NBA legend if he had any advice about raising a daughter since at the time he had three girls of his own: Natalia, Gianna, and Bianka. Later, Kobe and his wife Vanessa welcomed a fourth daughter, Capri.
Duncan said that Kobe told her to just be grateful that she has been given this gift because “girls are amazing.” Duncan then asked if he wanted to have more children, and Kobe said that Vanessa really wanted to try again for a boy, but joked that she was afraid she would have another girl.
Duncan asked, “Four girls? Are you joking? What would you think? How would you feel?”
— Holly Robinson Peete (@hollyrpeete) January 28, 2020
She said that without hesitation, Kobe replied, “I would have five more girls if I could. I’m a girl dad.” Duncan added that Kobe told her his oldest daughter Natalia was an “accomplished volleyball player, while his toddler Bianka was “TBD.”
“But that middle one, he said, ‘That middle one was a monster. She’s a beast. She’s better than I was at her age. She’s got it,’” Duncan said through tears. “That middle one, of course, was Gigi.”
Elle Duncan says that as she reflects on this tragedy and the half-hour she spent with Kobe Bryant two years ago, the only source of comfort for her is knowing that he died doing what he loved most – “being a dad, being a girl dad.”
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) January 28, 2020
After her story went viral – with dads all over the country posting pics with their daughters – Duncan tweeted that she is moved by the outpouring support behind her story with Kobe.
“And I love that #girldad is trending.. so for all those proud fathers who still have their girls to love on can you flood my timeline with pics of you and your flock. Honestly I need it as much as anyone rt now,” tweeted Duncan.