On January 26, tragedy struck: basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other friends and family members perished in a helicopter crash in California. The tragedy hit us all deep, and we mourn the loss. As we reflect on last month’s sad events, the time seems right to also reflect on this great man’s legacy. In this article, we will think back fondly on Kobe Bryant, a great husband and father, and an absolute hoops god.
Although his passing is painful, he left behind an unexpected and inspiring legacy: #GirlDad. Already, the movement is going mega-viral. And for good reason. It reminds all of us brothers, friends, cousins, sisters, mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons that we should all take a second to think of our loved ones and how much they mean to us. And as we remember Kobe, and when we think of his legacy, it’s clear that his daughters mean the world to him.
What is #GirlDad?
The trending hashtag started when ESPN’s Elle Duncan shared a memory of Kobe Bryant. She recounts that at an ESPN event, she met Bryant backstage. At the time, she was eight months pregnant, and Bryant immediately inquired how she was and asked about the gender of the baby. When Duncan told him that she was expecting a girl, Bryant rejoiced.
He gave her a high five and said “Girls are the best.” At the time, Bryant was already a father of three girls, so his comments came straight from the heart. Even though encounters with superstars are usually short-lived, Bryant and Duncan hit it off and bonded profoundly. At some point in their convo, he said “I would have five more girls if I could, I’m a girl dad.”
After Duncan’s tearful and heartfelt bit on ESPN, the story of her encounter with Bryant was shared on the SportsCenter Twitter page. The post was retweeted tens of thousands of times, and the hashtag #GirlDad was born. Lots of proud dads then took to Twitter to post pics of themselves with their daughters and hashtagged them with #GirlDad. The story makes our hearts ache and miss Kobe Bryant, but it also makes us want to call our loved ones to tell we love them.
The Important Message of Kobe Bryant’s Legacy
When someone passes away, we often say something like “he is gone but not forgotten.” This is not exactly the case with Kobe Bryant. He is certainly not forgotten, but he is not gone either. He always brought his A-game and he made innumerable people smile through his baffling b-ball skills and his kind-hearted philanthropy.
And with the last touch to his legacy, #GirlDad, he prompts us to take a look at ourselves, our society, and the people with whom we share life. The message here is extremely important: daughters are amazing, and every father of one should be proud. Society has long been plagued by stereotypes about women.
We’re doing better now than we ever have, but we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to equality for women. Sadly, in many places, and in many different countries, women and girls are still discriminated against based solely on the fact that they are female. We hope to one day in the very near-future live in a discrimination-free world. Legacies like Kobe Bryant’s, fortunately, get us a little closer every day.