Celebrities Help ‘Girl Dad’ Go Viral: What Does the Hashtag Mean?

kobe bryant

Getty Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.

Anyone who pays attention to social media knows the term ‘Girl Dad’ has been plastered everywhere. From the social media accounts of high-profile celebrities to your co-worker’s office cubicle, it’s gone viral.

But where did the latest hashtag come from? Well, the short answer is the term can be traced back to Kobe Bryant.

ESPN’s Elle Duncan recently recalled a tear-inducing story about the first time she met Bryant backstage at an event for ESPN in New York. Duncan was star-struck and immediately approached him to ask for a photo that she could post on the “Gram.” But a funny thing happened as she did.

Bryant noticed Duncan had a pregnant belly and he steered the conversation about her, not him. The basketball legend asked Duncan if she knew what she was having: a boy or a girl. When the ESPN anchor told him she was expecting a daughter, Bryant’s face lit up and he — unknowingly at the time — started the ‘Girl Dad’ phenomenon.

“Girls are the best,” Bryant told Duncan. “Just be grateful that you have been given that gift because girls are amazing.”

Then, Duncan asked the future Hall-of-Famer if he wanted more children and Bryant admitted that his wife, Vanessa, wanted to try for a boy. The encounter was before the couple had their youngest daughter, Capri, so they already had three girls.

As Duncan did the math on that — another daughter would bring the couple’s total to four girls — she asked Bryant if he was worried about having too much estrogen in the household. To which Bryant replied: Nope, not a chance.

“I would have five more girls if I could,” he said. “I’m a girl dad.”

Vanessa Bryant Uses ‘GirlDad’ in Emotional Instagram Post

In an emotional and empowering Instagram post, Vanessa Bryant used the hashtag ‘GirlDad’ at the end of a lengthy post thanking everyone for all their prayers and support during this difficult time.

The message was her first comment since the tragic death of her husband, Kobe, and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. The world cannot imagine the extreme sadness Vanessa must be feeling but she attempted to put it in words.

“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now,” Vanessa wrote. “I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives.”

Celebrities & Athletes Join Global Phenomenon

Elle Duncan probably didn’t realize the impact her personal story about Kobe Bryant’s love of being a “girl dad” would elicit. Now she does. The term went instantly viral, with thousands of celebrity fathers chiming and sharing photos of their beautiful daughters.

For example, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson captured a moment with his daughter, Sienna.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham shared a picture of his daughter, Emerson.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter never misses a scoop — and he wasn’t sitting this one out, either.

Baseball legend Alex Rodriguez simply wrote: I’m so proud and lucky to be a #GirlDad. ❤️❤️

New York Giants Hall-of-Famer and Good Morning, America co-host Michael Strahan even got in on the fun and posted photos of his twin daughters, Sophia and Isabella — along with one of his 28-year-old daughter, Tanita.

There may never be full closure for the devastating accident that took the life of a true larger-than-life legend like Kobe Bryant. Seeing the heartfelt memes and photos from around the country are certainly one step in achieving peace. Thank you, Elle Duncan.

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