Gigi Bryant Earns Posthumous Honorary WNBA Draft Pick

Tanya Simon
July 4, 2020

The 2020 WNBA draft pick took place on Friday (April 17) and honored Gigi, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester-who also passed away in the tragic helicopter crash that also killed Gigi's father, National Basketball Association legend Kobe Bryant.

The WNBA pays tribute to the lives of Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant and Payton Chester by selecting them as honorary draftees in the #WNBADraft 2020. She also posted a video clip from 2001 where Kobe expressed his love for his wife. Engelbert said Kobe was the only National Basketball Association player to meet with her when she became commissioner previous year.

After the conclusion of the draft on Friday night, the WNBA announced the creation of the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award, given to "an individual or group who has made significant contributions to the visibility, perception and advancement of women's and girls' basketball at all levels".

"He believed in women's sports", she said.

It's only fitting that on Friday - almost three months after he and eight others died in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles - that Bryant's legacy was front and center during the WNBA draft.

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Before the start of the draft, Engelbert honored Gianna Bryant, Altobelli and Chester by announcing each of the players as jerseys were shown on the screen with their last names on them. She continued, "She worked tirelessly every single day". While Bryant was set on attending Connecticut, Altobelli and Chester were fervent OR fans.

"What she had to do to sit there to stand by his side and say "Yo, I'm with you" - incredible female", Salley said. "Thank you. WNBA, out".

Prior to the 2020 WNBA Draft beginning, the league made three honorary selections. We had 2 more daughters, he won an Oscar, he opened Granity studios, he became a 5x best selling author and coached Gianna's basketball team in that time.

Congratulations to Ionescu and to the WNBA on a successful, touching virtual draft. "They deserved it and I know they're looking down and smiling and really excited about it".

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