Diana Taurasi Gives Incredible Speech at Kobe Bryant Memorial [WATCH]

Diana Taurasi

Getty Diana Taurasi speaks during The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

On January 26, NBA legend Kobe Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash along with eight other people, including his daughter Gianna “Gigi” Maria-Onore. The other individuals who died in the crash were the pilot Ara Zobayan, one of Gianna’s teammates, Alyssa Altobelli, Altobelli’s parents, Keri and John, Gianna’s teammate Payton Chester and her mother Sarah Chester.

The memorial service took place on February 24 in the home of Kobe Bryant’s longtime team, the LA Lakers, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Diana Taurasi was one of the speakers during the memorial, with a very touching tribute to Kobe and Gianna. Here is the video of her speech:

Her Speech Was Emotional With a Touch of Humor

She said when she was a “lanky awkward freshman in high school” in 1996, she would watch all the Lakers games obsessively. During timeouts and commercials, she would “run to the front yard to imitate my favorite Laker, Kobe.”

During her emotional speech, she shared how she spent time with Kobe at the 2008 Olympics: “his competitive fire ran through his veins.” She said “Kobe’s willingness to do the hard work and make the sacrifice every single day inspired me and resonated with the city of Los Angeles.”

She continued “we struggled together, we grew together, we celebrated victories together.”

She added a moment of humor when she spoke about Gigi’s passion and skill on the court. She said “her skill was undeniable at an early age. I mean, who has a turn-away fadeaway jumper at 11? LeBron barely got it today.” She said to laughter from the audience.

She spoke about how Gigi’s passion ignited Kobe’s interest in coaching and teaching, saying that she probably wasn’t the only one who received a text from Kobe “asking what drills they would do when they were 13.”

“Gigi in many ways represents the future of women’s basketball, a future where a young woman aspires to play in the WNBA,” Taurasi continued. “She represents a time where a young girl doesn’t need permission to play, her skill would command respect.”

She teared up at the end of her speech, saying “as a daughter, a sister, wife and mother, we embrace Vanessa, Natalia, Bianca and Capri. We promise to carry Gigi’s legacy.” In Spanish, she said “Kobe and Gigi are in the heart of Los Angeles and angels never die. We love you dearly.”

Taurasi Is a Highly Accomplished American Professional Basketball Player

Diana Taurasi is an American professional basketball player, and four-time Olympic gold medalist. She was on the winning Olympic USA women’s basketball team in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.

She is also the WNBA all-time leading scorer, and is known as “White Mamba,” for her ability to score in clutch situations. Kobe Bryant, who is famously known as “Black Mamba,” gave her the nickname. She won five scoring titles all together, in the years 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Taurasi won the WBNA Rookie of the Year Award in 2004, and three WBNA championships in 2007, 2009 and 2014. She was also the 2009 WBNA MVP in 2009 and the WBNA Finals MVP in 2009 and 2014. The White Mamba also has three FIBA World Cups from the years 2010, 2014 and 2018.

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