If there is anyone who would know the sport of basketball, it is one Kobe Bean Bryant.
The 41-year-old retired NBA All-Star won five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, the team he played for his entire professional career. He went straight from prep basketball to the big leagues, opting to skip college and declare himself for the 1996 NBA draft, where he was the No. 13 overall pick for the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets would go on to trade Bryant to the Lakers for Vlade Divac (heh), and Bryant would go on to make history with the purple and gold.
Y’all know I’m a Laker fan, right? Like die-hard? Like I ride for my city and my team?
I am not, however, a Kobe fan. I respect Kobe. I admire his game and his skill at his craft. I don’t care for Kobe.
That said, I respect his opinion when it comes to this sport, and as the father of four daughters. Kobe recently became the coach for his 13-year-old daughter Gianna’s basketball team—as well as having been seen with Gianna at a number of NBA games as of late—and CNN caught up with Black Mamba and asked him if there could one day be a future for Gianna in the NBA.
Bryant told CNN, “I think there are a couple of players who could play in the NBA right now honestly. There’s a lot of players with a lot of skill that could do it.”
Bryant went on to name Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore and Elena Della Donne of the WNBA as three female players he feels have the skills to play competitively in the NBA right now.
Considering the pay differences between the WNBA and the NBA, I believe this is a thing we should be able to see happen. Can you imagine women playing in the league and showing these dudes what’s up?
It’s perhaps no surprise that Bryant named Taurasi as one of his picks to succeed in the NBA.
The 2004 first overall pick in the WNBA Draft - and 2009 WNBA MVP - has been the WNBA all-time leading scorer since June 2017, is a nine-time WNBA All-Star and is a three-time WNBA champion with Phoenix Mercury.
Her nickname is White Mamba, a derivative of Bryant’s own nickname ‘Black Mamba’, owing to her habit of scoring in clutch situations.
Last October, Elena Della Donne led Washington Mystics to their first WNBA title, picking up her second WNBA MVP title in the process. The six foot five inches small forward also became the first ever WNBA star to join the 50-40-90 club.
To join the unofficial club, a player must shoot more than 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the foul line. She also had a percentage of 97.4, which is a record for a player with at least 100 attempts.
And on Maya Moore:
While Maya Moore sat out the 2019 season to focus on family and her faith, she is also a WNBA MVP winner, taking the award in 2014.
Additionally, she had won four WNBA championships with the Minnesota Lynx before she turned 29.
Let these ladies ball in the league! They will be able to create space for future players like Gianna, who Bryant says has her heart set on attending the University of Connecticut where both Moore and Taurasi played college ball.
Videos of Gianna playing basketball have already gone viral; she’s got her daddy’s moves for sure, and her love for the game has renewed Bryant’s interest in the sport, which he told CNN has waned since he retired.
Use your influence to make it happen for Little Mamba, Kobe.
She deserves it. So do all the other women athletes.