— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 28, 2020
While the world continues to mourn the loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven other passengers who died in a devastating Jan. 26 helicopter accident, fans and people close to the beloved athlete are sharing their fondest Kobe memories. Jimmy Fallon detailed a Hollywood party beer run he and Kobe went on when they were both starting out in their fields. LeBron James opened up about the last conversation they had just a few hours before Kobe's untimely death. And ESPN anchor Elle Duncan recalled the first and only conversation she had with the five-time NBA champion about fatherhood, and it is truly breaking our hearts.
During Monday night's 6 p.m. SportsCentre segment, Elle choked up while detailing her conversation with Kobe in 2018. She was eight months pregnant with her first child, and getting a photo with him was high on her priority list . . . but anyone who knew Kobe would know that he'd first want to talk about her expanding family. Elle told him she was having a girl, and the retired Los Angeles Laker gave her a high five and said, "Girls are the best."
"I asked him for advice on raising girls, seeing as though he quite famously had three at the time, and he said, 'Just be grateful that you've been given that gift because girls are amazing,'" Elle shared. She asked Kobe if he and his wife, Vanessa, wanted more children and joked over how crazy it would be to have four girls. "I was like, 'Four girls! Are you joking? What would you think? How would you feel?'"
"I would have five more girls if I could. I'm a girl dad."
Well, Kobe's instant response to Elle perfectly encapsulated the father he was. "I would have five more girls if I could. I'm a girl dad," he told her. For Kobe, basketball was his job, but family was his life, and there was no better reflection of that than how he spent his retirement. As the coach of 13-year-old Gianna's team, Kobe did everything he could to pass his gift to his second daughter, who loved the game just as much as he did.
Elle concluded the emotional segment with a heartfelt and powerful statement: "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."