‘Our No.1 Fan’: Former WNBA Champion Believes Kobe Bryant’s Influence on Women’s Basketball is Unmatched

Published 09/29/2021, 1:30 PM EDT
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – JAN. 13, 2015. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant warms up before a game against the Miami Heat on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


5-time NBA champion, Kobe Bryant has had a truly tremendous influence on WNBA and other levels of women’s basketball. Through the years, the Los Angeles Lakers legend made several initiatives to inspire and support the women’s basketball community.

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A father to four daughters, Bryant was a passionate fan of the WNBA, NCAA, and the US women’s Olympic basketball team.

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 23: Vanessa Bryant, former NBA Player Kobe Bryant, Natalia Bryant and Gianna Bryant attend the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival’s Tribeca Talks: Storytellers: Kobe Bryant with Glen Keane at BMCC Tribeca PAC on April 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)

The impact of Kobe Bryant on the WNBA is unmatched

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Former WNBA player, Ticha Penicheiro, recently talked to Christy Williams-Scott about Mamba’s blessing to the league.

The 2005 WNBA champion believes that Kobe’s influence is ‘unmatched’. She said, “When you have one of the GOATs of the NBA, put his stamp of approval on the women’s game, whether it’s NCAA or WNBA, his coming to the games, he’s actually invested. At his Mamba academy in LA, used to have workouts for all the ladies. I had some of my players and work out with him personally… He was our No.1 fan, it makes a world of difference and we will definitely miss them.”

Bryant was the biggest supporter of women’s basketball amongst NBA players. However, beyond simply being a fan, he thoroughly contributed to their growth and opportunities. The Mamba Sports foundation also aims to empower women basketball players through its initiatives.

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Kobe Bryant was invested in making women’s basketball prominent from college basketball to the WNBA league.

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He even coached his daughter Gigi’s school-level basketball team. Additionally, on a league level, the 2-time NBA Finals MVP was often seen sitting courtside in WNBA All-Star games. Notably, his presence is still vastly appreciated by WNBA players.

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Additionally, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert even recognized Bryant for being an inspiration.

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The strong-headed champion was a 2-time Olympic gold medallist, 2-time NBA scoring leader, and 18-time NBA All-star. With an astonishing list of accomplishments, Kobe Bryant is still a motivation for the younger generations in the sport.

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Pavni Ahuja

534 articles

Pavni Ahuja is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Housing a keen interest in sports journalism, she is pursuing an undergraduate Journalism degree from Christ University. Pavni is an ardent fan of the NBA, with prior district-level playing experience in basketball.

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