Vanessa Bryant Thanks the WNBA for Making Her Daughter an Honorary Draft Pick
"It would have been a dream come true for her."
During Friday evening's WNBA draft, the league selected Gianna Bryant, as well as Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, as honorary draft picks. The athletes were all victims of the tragic helicopter crash that also claimed the life of Kobe Bryant. After the draft, Vanessa Bryant thanked the organization, saying that it was an honor and that it would have made Gigi's dreams come true.
"It would have been a dream come true for her. She worked tirelessly every single day, she wanted to be one of the greatest athletes of all time, just like her daddy," Vanessa said, according to Entertainment Tonight. "So thank you. Thank you for honoring my little girl. Kobe and Gigi loved the WNBA."
She continued, encouraging all of this year's draft picks to work hard and strive for the excellence that she knows they have: "I want to congratulate all of this year's draft picks. Work hard. Never settle. Use that Mamba Mentality."
The draft also paid tribute to Kobe, calling him "potentially the greatest ally that this sport could ever hope for."
The ceremony included Diana Taurasi and Sabrina Ionescu, friends of the Bryant family. Ionescu was selected by the New York Liberty as the league's No. 1 pick. Both Taurasi and Ionescu spoke at the Celebration of Life ceremony for Kobe and Gigi last February.