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Lisa Leslie, a WNBA legend, shares her memories of Kobe Bryant from the time they both started their careers in Los Angeles.

Memories from WNBA Star Lisa Leslie

They met when Bryant was just 18, on the cusp of his rookie season with the Lakers, while Leslie was preparing for her debut with the Sparks. This period marked the beginning of a lasting friendship between the two basketball stars.

Kobe’s Dedication and Idolization of Michael Jordan

Leslie recalls Bryant’s obsession with Michael Jordan, noting how he would meticulously study Jordan’s games and interviews.

Kobe admired Jordan not only for his skills but also tried to emulate his mannerisms and playing style, demonstrating an early commitment to achieving greatness in basketball.

Perception and Personality on the Court

Despite criticisms of arrogance, Leslie emphasizes that Kobe’s confident demeanor was confined to the basketball court.

His competitive nature was a testament to his desire to excel and should not be confused with his behavior off the court, where he was much more personable.

Impact on Women’s Basketball

Kobe Bryant became an influential advocate for women’s basketball, particularly through his support of WNBA games and female players.

Leslie points out how Bryant’s involvement in the sport helped alter the perception of men towards women’s basketball, lending it greater legitimacy and respect.

Tragic Loss and Legacy

The untimely death of Kobe and his daughter Gianna was a profound loss not only to their family but to the sports community as well.

Leslie reflects on the potential and passion Gianna had for basketball, which mirrored her father’s.

Despite controversies, such as the dismissed sexual assault charge, Leslie feels that Bryant’s legacy should be viewed in light of his contributions to basketball and society rather than the allegations that were never proven in court.

The Global Impact of Kobe’s Death

The news of Kobe Bryant’s death resonated deeply with fans worldwide, regardless of their direct connection to him.

His life and sudden death served as a stark reminder of the unpredictability of life and the deep emotional connections that sports can foster among fans.


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