The impact of, on Sunday has reverberated with many people from different walks of life, and served as a unifying moment to collectively grieve. Unsurprisingly, that effect lasted well beyond the day of the tragedy itself and went into Tuesday where it manifested itself in the phrase "girl dad."
The phrase itself comes from a story that ESPN anchor Elle Duncan shared on the Monday night edition of "SportsCenter" about meeting Bryant for the first, and ultimately only, time in her life. Duncan explained that she met Bryant backstage at an ESPN event and, since she was eight months pregnant, the topic of her future child came up. The conversation led to a moment where Bryant expressed his pride over having three girls, and excitement over the possibility of having a fourth (he only had three kids at the time).
Here's the key part of her emotional monologue (emphasis my own):
"I asked him advice on raising girls, as he quite famously had three at the time. He said, 'just be grateful that you've been given that gift because girls are amazing.' His third daughter, Bianka, was about a year-and-a-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?'
Without hesitation, he said 'I would have five more girls if I could. I'm a girl dad.'
When it came to sports, he said that his oldest daughter was an accomplished volleyball player, and that the 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 hour I spent with Kobe Bryant two years ago, I suppose that the only small source of comfort for me is knowing he died doing what he loved the most: being a dad. Being a girl dad."
Thus, the term "girl dad" was born. After "SportsCenter" posted the clip on Twitter, thousands of people shared their experiences either as a girl dad themselves, or the daughter of a girl dad. Athletes and notable celebrities got involved in the trend.
Bryant was a father of four daughters with his wife Vanessa: Natalia, 17, Gianna, 13, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months old.