ESPN anchor Elle Duncan shares story of the time Kobe Bryant told her he was proud to be a ‘girl dad’
In the wake of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Giana “Gigi” Bryant’s deaths, tributes are pouring in from all over the world, but one tribute, in particular, has truly captured Bryant’s essence, not just as a legendary basketball player, but as a dad — and more specifically, as a girl dad. ESPN anchor Elle Duncan spent a minute during a SportsCenter broadcast to share a story about the time she met Kobe in 2018, reminding us that his greatest legacy is being a “girl dad.”
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I met Kobe Bryant one time.. we were doing ESPN upfronts together in NYC. He came over and started talking to me about my impending baby (as you can see I was 13 months pregnant). I asked if he had advice on raising girls— he said “Just be grateful you’ve been given that gift, girls are amazing.” He bragged for a few minutes about what his 3 daughters were doing and how tough they were. He commented his wife Vanessa wanted to try for a boy but was jokingly concerned it would be another girl.. I said “How would you feel about that?” WITHOUT hesitation he said “I WOULD HAVE 5 MORE GIRLS IF I COULD.. I’m a girl dad I love the challenge of raising women.” Little did I know he would have that 4th girl. Or that I would sit backstage for half an hour chatting up the GOAT about his new retired life and what was ahead. I left so impressed with his ability to exist normally in a space where he was being fawned and followed. How he took time for this Real pregnant women he didn’t know to have a real convo with a line of people waiting for a moment just to reassure her. I’m glad to have had that brief time with him. I’m so sorry that 4th girl won’t know her dad.
Duncan said that when she met Bryant, she was eight months pregnant and expecting a baby girl. When she told this to Bryant, he lit up.
“I asked him for advice on raising girls…and he said, ‘Just be grateful that you’ve been given that gift because girls are amazing,'” Bryant told her while adding that, “I would have five more girls if I could. I’m a girl dad.”
We know now that Bryant and Gigi, along with her coach and teammates, were on their way to a basketball game before the fatal accident, and Bryant told Duncan that day that Gigi’s talent for the sport rivaled his own.
“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 recalled with emotion in her voice. “That middle one, of course, was Gigi.”
Duncan teared up while sharing her story, but ended it on this hopeful note.
“When I reflect on this tragedy. 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,” she said.
The clip is powerful on its own, but thanks in part to people like Chrissy Teigen, who shared the video on Instagram, writing “in a sea of tributes that ached my soul, this one had to be the most beautiful and heart wrenching,” the video went viral. Shortly after, “Girl dad” started to trend on Twitter, with fans chiming in to share their stories about raising girls.
This video had me in tears. Being a girl dad has been the best part of my short life. I wish I knew about this part of Kobe. This will be his lasting impression on me. Not the wins, rings, or records. #girldad https://t.co/6UBBaGtLDV
— trey hardee (@treyhardee) January 28, 2020
The last time I remember John crying, aside from this week, was when Luna wrapped her little finger around his at the hospital when she was born. There really is something magical about girls and their dads. Thank you, @elleduncanESPN https://t.co/P4VL5Z8dC4 pic.twitter.com/hgWWB0DHcB
— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) January 28, 2020
So I just found out what a #girldad is because of this #. And aparently I’m a #girldad. I’ve been blessed with 3 amazing and unique girls who will change the world around them. I grew up with 3 sisters and I wouldn’t trade any of it. My girls are my life. pic.twitter.com/fqFJhHtnrE
— Matt Wanless (@walnut138) January 28, 2020
After our 1st, 2nd and 3rd daughters, so many people would come up and say, "Are you gonna try again for a boy?" (Don't say that, people) Having any child is a blessing. But I swear I wouldn't want it any other way. These 3 and their mom are so much more than I deserve. #GirlDad pic.twitter.com/TMc0oaqbAB
— Ira Schoffel (@IraSchoffel) January 28, 2020
“I’m so moved by the outpouring of support behind my story about Kobe,” Duncan wrote on Twitter, “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.”
Kobe Bryant was a basketball legend, a supernatural talent, a force of nature, but more importantly — he was a girl dad.