Misogyny is rampant worldwide. We see it in the rhetoric about girls being “harder to raise.” It’s in the dejected faces of parents during gender reveals. We see it in the ways people speak about men versus the ways they speak about women. The whole society is based on a system of patriarchy. So it really comes as no surprise that in the male-led, male-dominated arena of athletics these types of attitudes persist.
But in one of the tributes coming forward about Kobe Bryant, sports journalist Elle Duncan, shared that this was not the case for Kobe Bryant, the father of four daughters.
Duncan shared a brief but powerful interaction she shared with Kobe.
“I met Kobe one time. Backstage at an event for ESPN in New York. And I saw him and I thought, ’Oh my gosh, that’s Kobe I got to get a picture for the gram.’ I didn’t get it for a few minutes because as I approached him, he immediately commented on my rather large, eight month pregnant belly. ‘How are you? How close are you? What are you having?’ A girl, I said. And then he high-fived me. ‘Girls are the best.’ I asked him for advice on raising girls seeing as though he quite famously had three at the time. And he said, ‘Just be grateful that you’ve been given that gift because girls are amazing.’ His third daughter Bianca was about a year and half old at the time so I asked if he wanted more children. He said that his wife Vanessa really wanted to try again for a boy but was sort of jokingly concerned that it would be another girl. And I was like, ‘Four girls are you joking? What would you think? How would you feel?’ And without hesitation, I would have five more girls if I could. I am a girl dad. When it came to sports, he said that his oldest daughter was an accomplished volleyball player. And his youngest was a toddler so TBD. ‘But that middle one,’ he said, ‘That middle one was a monster. She’s a beast. She’s better than I was at her age. She’s got it.’ That middle one of course was Gigi. When I reflect on this tragedy and that half an hour that I spent with Kobe Bryant, two years ago, I suppose that the only small source of comfort for me was that he died doing what he loved the most, being a dad. Being a girl dad.”
You can watch the video of Duncan’s tribute in the video below.
Since her story aired, fathers of daughters have started sharing their pride in raising daughters. See them on the following pages.