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#pounditMonday, June 17, 2024

UConn honors Gianna Bryant with own jersey, spot on the bench

UConn Gianna Bryant seat

Kobe Bryant’s daughter Gianna was determined to play for the UConn women’s basketball team when she went to college, and the Huskies found a way to honor her the day after she, her father and seven others died in a helicopter crash.

UConn gave Gianna Bryant her own custom No. 2 jersey and saved her a seat on the bench for their exhibition game against team USA.

Former UConn star Breanna Stewart, who was taking part in the scrimmage as a member of Team USA, paid tribute to all nine victims of the crash by writing their names on her sneakers.

Kobe and Gianna, who was 13, attended a game at Gampel Pavilion on the University of Connecticut campus last season. Both were decked out in Huskies gear and posed for a photo with UConn legend Rebecca Lobo, who was being honored that night. Gianna also took a photo with the team.

Kobe said after he retired that Gianna’s passion for basketball rekindled his love for the game. He said he didn’t really watch much basketball in retirement until his daughter became such an enthusiast. Back in 2018, Kobe had a friendly exchange with Hall of Famer Reggie Miller, who told Bryant he needed to convince Gianna to go to UCLA. Kobe said Gianna was “hell-bent on UConn.”

Geno Auriemma’s team has dominated women’s college basketball for the better part of two decades now, so it’s no surprise Gianna wanted to play for UConn. We’ve seen some incredible tributes thus far for Kobe in the NBA, but it was great to see the Huskies acknowledge Gianna. Their program clearly meant a lot to her even though she was years away from being able to potentially join them.

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Other victims of the helicopter crash:
John Altobelli, junior college baseball coach, also died in helicopter crash
Christina Mauser, girls’ basketball coach, among the helicopter crash victims
Sarah Chester, daughter Payton were also killed in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash
Ara Zobayan was the pilot in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash

Tributes to Kobe:
Dallas Mavericks retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 24 jersey
Video: Raptors, Spurs start game with amazing tribute to Kobe Bryant
Shaq posts heartfelt tribute to Kobe Bryant
Michael Jordan releases statement on death of ‘little brother’ Kobe Bryant
Video: Doc Rivers breaks down crying talking about Kobe Bryant
Phil Jackson calls Kobe Bryant ‘a chosen one’ in statement on his death
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issues statement on death of Kobe Bryant
Video: Dwyane Wade posts emotional message reacting to Kobe Bryant’s death
Kendrick Perkins extends olive branch to Kevin Durant after Kobe Bryant’s death
Video: Emotional Mike Breen sums up NBA world’s emotions about Kobe Bryant’s death
Trae Young’s huge game was full of Kobe Bryant-related statistical coincidences

More coverage:
Video: Kobe Bryant helicopter audio released
Media errors, rumors, poor judgment run rampant in reporting of Kobe Bryant news
NBA postpones Tuesday’s Lakers-Clippers game after Kobe Bryant’s death
Kobe Bryant recently filed for ‘Mambacita’ trademark for daughter Gianna
Kobe Bryant checked in on Shaq’s son Shareef morning of helicopter crash
No, Rick Fox did not die in helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gianna Bryant
Lakers fans start memorial to Kobe Bryant outside Staples Center
Kobe Bryant’s last tweet was congratulating LeBron James on passing him
Sports world stunned over Kobe Bryant news
Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash – dead at 41

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