‘Big Brother to all of us’: 2021 Champion Candace Parker Explains What Kobe Bryant and Gigi Mean to the WNBA

Published 11/22/2021, 11:30 AM EST
EL SEGUNDO, CA – OCT. 1, 2012. Lakers star player Kobe Bryant is all smiles during the teams’ media day at their El Segundo training facility on Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


Kobe Bryant was and always will be a legend for the NBA for reasons that can’t be put into words. But the WNBA feels no different either as the Lakers legend has left everyone inspired there as well. After winning her second championship  with the Los Angeles Sparks, Candace Parker has much to say about the way he impacted her and the last of the women’s basketball fraternity.

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How Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Bryant continue to be Candace’s mentor

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The last time Candace won a championship was back in 2016, during which she was even awarded the Finals MV. At the time, Kobe Bryant had just retired and that led to a relationship forming between the two. And now that she has bagged another title for herself, she never forgot what he meant to her and how he helped her through her achievements and pitfalls.

In a recent interview with CP, she was asked about her thanking Kobe for all the support and how she stays in touch with his wife, Vanessa Bryant. “Kobe– We call it Kobeisms,” she started off. “He always has a way of saying things. And I remember in 2016, my first championship with the Sparks, we had just lost game four, we had to go to game five at Minnesota.”

“And I get a text and a call from Kobe and he just says it. Like, ‘You got there with your team, it’s you against them. And that’s how you want it right?’ He says things only the way Kobe can say it. But this year, I found myself calling Vanessa for some Kobe-isms.”

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What Kobe and Gigi meant to the WNBA

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 21: Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi, watch an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks on December 21, 2019 at Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Nets won 122-112. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

However, Parker didn’t just elaborate on the influence the Lakers legend has had on her but the WNBA as a whole. She said, “I think Kobe and Gigi have meant so much to the WNBA. And I think their legacy, we all plan on carrying it on because they’ve meant so much to the growth of women’s basketball, and to the growth of basketball. And he just became that big brother to all of us, that mentor.”

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Candace also reminisced about how the last few years of Kobe’s career helped give all of us an insight into who he was outside of the court. A brilliant father and complete family man, something that we all greatly respect.

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Yashima Bhatia

1745 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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