The death of basketball legend, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on the weekend has prompted many to reflect on fatherhood.
Elle Duncan of ESPN shared her own encounter with Bryant from a few years ago. Duncan recounted meeting Bryant at an ESPN event in New York while she was heavily pregnant. As she approached him, Bryant asked, “How are you? How close are you? What are you having?”
When Duncan told him she was having a girl he told her, “Girls are the best...I would have five more girls if I could, I’m a girl dad.”
Duncan choked back tears as she recalled the Bryant’s pride speaking about his daughter Gianna’s sporting prowess.
She concluded, “When I reflect on this tragedy and that half an hour that I spent with Kobe Bryant two years ago, 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.”
"He died doing what he loved the most, being a Dad, being a girl Dad.”
The touching memory has triggered a new wave of tributes from fans around the world as they embrace the term #girldad. Fathers have begun posting to social media using the hashtag to share photographs of their daughters and pay tribute to the lives of Kobe and Gianna Bryant.
Former NFL Player, Lamar Thomas shared a sweet photograph of his daughters embracing the sport that was Bryant’s life along with the caption, “#girldad I’m still sitting here in shock, but today we took this picture. Me and my baby girls #RIPKobe #RIPGIGI”
Another user shared the joy that Kobe had brought to his girls, tweeting that he taught his two daughters to say, “Kobe” after shooting trash into the trash can.
After the hashtag began trending, Duncan took to Twitter herself to say, “I’m so moved by the outpuring 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”
One step father shared a touching photograph from his wedding tweeting, “She’s techically my step-daughter but she’s my girl. When I married her Mom, she couldn’t control her tears so I had to stop and make sure she was ok. She said “Im okay Daddy. These are happy tears” #girldad
Many commenters shared their own experiences of introducing their daughters to a sport that they love.
One shared his heartbreak that he’ll never be able to take his own daughter to see Gianna Bryant play, “Teary-eyed as I’m about to send this because I was hoping one day I’d take her to see Gigi and tell her about my sports hero who just so happened to be her Dad. #GirlDad”
Zoe Victoria is a freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter @Zoe__V