Jeanie Buss Reveals the Illustrious Co-Ed League Plans She Had With Kobe Bryant for Gianna

Published 08/19/2021, 12:47 AM EDT
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 17: Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on November 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)


This week, Los Angeles Lakers President, Jeanie Buss, spoke to The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan, discussing her team, fantasy football, and late NBA legend Kobe Bryant. While Buss discussed Bryant’s invaluable 20 years with the team, the conversation took an interesting turn. According to Buss, she and Bryant were indeed talking about a co-ed league.

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Buss revealed that she began speaking to Bryant about Gianna – who was on the helicopter that claimed their lives in a horrific crash last January. Bryant’s daughter was like him, known as an incredible basketball player constantly seeking new challenges. In the end, a co-ed league seemed like a viable option.

Jeanie Buss reveals she and Kobe Bryant were in talks for a co-ed league for Gianna

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While speaking about Gianna, Buss added that just a championship with a college team would not be enough. “She was going to want a bigger challenge. Something that had never been done,” she said. “Now whether it would have been, she’d want to play in the NBA, … back in the day Ann Meyers (when signed with the Indiana Pacers) and Nancy Lieberman (when she played in the USBL a men’s pro league)”.

In the end, they came up with the idea of a co-ed team. As the NBA already has a G League, the WNBA, and the NBA, a co-ed league could certainly be worked out.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 29: Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on December 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

Buss further spoke about Gianna, explaining how the young star was like her father. “Gianna was so inspiring because she was like Kobe. She would process information, and then she’d need more and more … She was like, ‘OK, I did that. Now give me more challenges.’ That was Kobe”. 

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The Lakers president knew that Bryant always wanted more, which influenced his performance on the court. The five-time NBA champion kept pushing himself, learning moves as he relentlessly played on.

“That’s the heart of a champion, right?”

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Gianna, like her father, was determined to make it big in the basketball world. She dreamed of playing for the University of Connecticut, which has a fantastic women’s program. Both Bryant and Gianna were often seen at basketball games together, the Lakers legend often explaining things to her.

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