RIP to an Absolute Comedy Legend Carl Reiner

RIP Carl Reiner
(Getty/Axelle/Bauer-Griffin)

2020’s wrath isn’t making any exceptions for aged-to-perfection comedy icons. Sadly, show business legend Carl Reiner passed away from natural causes Monday evening at the age of 98. The term “legend” is thrown around with aplomb to the point that it’s almost meaningless, but there are few truly worthy of the mantle. Carl Reiner is absolutely in that class.

The comedy icon created “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and was a prolific director, helming memorable films such as “The Jerk” with Steve Martin. His show business career spanned decades, as a writer-director-producer and even as an actor. He even won a Grammy for his hit comedy album with his best bud Mel Brooks, “2000 Years with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks.”

The father of another prolific director, son Rob Reiner, Carl lived the old man life everyone dreams of, spending his final years with friends and spending every night eating dinner with Brooks and watching Jeopardy and movies.

Some may remember Reiner as an actor for his later work, having starred in “Ocean’s 11” and it’s subsequent sequels. He also did voice roles in “Family Guy”, “King of the Hill” and “Bob’s Burgers.”

But the man has been an entertainment icon for decades, through film, TV, Broadway and any other medium you can think of. Reiner was even active on social media, tweeting frequently until his final day.

Reiner was a true legend, with a history full of making people laugh and smile. There is no better legacy to leave the world than a lifetime of laughter and being a great dad.

George Floyd Was a Dad

George Floyd Was a Dad
(Getty/Anadolu Agency)

Before his name was a flashpoint for protesters demanding justice. Before his name became a permanent fixture on cable news scrawls. Before his final moments were recorded and shared across every social media platform in existence. George Floyd was just a dad trying to make a better life for himself and his family.

Earlier this week, Floyd was arrested in Minneapolis, and well, you probably know the rest by now. The arresting office knelt on Floyd’s neck, for reasons unclear, while other officers watched. Floyd tried to get the officer to relent, struggling to tell him he couldn’t breathe. He lost consciousness and died. The officer was arrested, only after several nights of protests (which escalated into violence in some areas), and the other officers have yet to be charged. Protests have erupted in dozens of cities throughout the nation, with rioting in several of them, as some see this as little more than another episode in a long line of similar incidents of police brutality.

The case, and the underlying issues it ignited, is not going away anytime soon. George Floyd’s name is one you’ll hear for a long time. But it’s important to know there was more to the man than his final moments. There was more to the man than his tragic and unjust murder. George Floyd was a dad.

Floyd had three kids (the youngest being six years old) and the Houston native had relocated to Minnesota for better employment opportunities. He worked as a truck driver and most recently as a bouncer at a bar/restaurant. His friends described him as someone who was a protector and a provider. His brother described him to CNN as a “gentle giant” without a hateful bone in his body.

“Knowing my brother is to love my brother,” he said.

Former NBA player Stephen Jackson was friends with George Floyd when he lived in Houston, and described him as someone who got along with everyone.

“The last time I talked to him was about a year ago and every conversation we had in that year was about bettering ourselves and being better fathers,” Jackson told CNN. “That’s all he talked about.”

His uncle told a newspaper Floyd was the type of guy who would “give the shirt off his back for anyone.”

The man, the life he lived, the kids, family, and friends he leaves behind, will be overshadowed by what comes next. As protests continue and his story serves as a flashpoint for systemic injustice, his name will live on. The tragic circumstances around his death won’t be forgotten. And the horrifying video of his final moments will continue to be shown.

But it’s important to remember he was more than those 9 minutes. It’s important to remember the man, a dad, and the grieving loved ones he leaves behind.

Wrestler and Real-Life Hero Shad Gaspard Drowns After Saving Son

RIP Shad Gaspard
(Instagram/therock)

The wrestlers of the WWE are often mocked for their over-the-top theatrics and play-acting in the service of a “sport” detractors like to claim is fake. And to a certain extent, that’s true. Their athleticism and charisma can’t be faked, but the roles of heroes and villain – or babyfaces and heels – are preordained.

But every once in a while, a wrestler plays the part in real life too. Like Shad Gaspard, the former WWE star and devoted family man who recently drowned while attempting to save his son from drowning.

The first day beaches re-opened in Los Angeles, Gaspard went swimming with his 10-year-old son at Venice Beach. Soon, the pair were caught in a rip current, in the middle of what officials refer to as an “impact zone.”

“The best way I can describe it,” said Kenichi Haskett, Section Chief of the LA County Fire Department – Lifeguard Division told ESPN, “is like being inside a front-loading washing machine. The waves keep crashing on you, pushing you down. … I’ve been through that, those kind of rescues. You think you might die.”

That’s where Gaspard and his son were when a lifeguard attempted to reach them. But before he could decide who to rescue, Gaspard told the lifeguard to save his son first.

The description in the article is enough to give you goosebumps.

“Take my son,” said the father, a former professional wrestler named Shad Gaspard, to the lifeguard.

Save my son.

Three minutes had not passed before the boy was safe onshore. He was physically unharmed but deeply distraught. “Dad told me to push off to the guy,” he told Steve Smith, a firefighter-paramedic from Rescue 63 in Venice. The boy kept repeating “Dad told me to push off to the guy.”

Gaspard’s son listened to his dad and survived. But Shad, just 39 and forging a broader career in Hollywood, did not. And now the wrestling world is mourning a true hero, a family man who put his son first and made the ultimate sacrifice.

WWE’s biggest stars are sending condolences to his family.

Gaspard was just starting to make an impact in Hollywood.

It’s clear the former wrestler was beloved by many for his kindness and devotion to his family, and that he had a bright future ahead of him.

Remembering Fred Willard: His Funniest Roles and Where to Watch Them

(Dreamworks Pictures)

We were so bummed to hear about the passing of comedy icon Fred Willard this week. He carried with him, not just brilliant comedic sensibilities, but a warm demeanor and innocence that beamed through all of it. He had a very dry, measured voice, and there was a very palpable sense of comfort in it. He spoke with what could best be described as restrained jubilance, as if to say, bear with me, this is building towards quite the payoff. And it always did.

Thankfully Fred appears in the new Netflix show Space Force, but that doesn’t drop for 10 whole, quarantine riddled days. So to tide you over and celebrate Mr. Willard, we’ve compiled a list of his 10 funniest performances and where you can watch them.

Best In Show

Fred was a frequent collaborator with mockumentary titan Christopher Guest, and the best examples of their chemistry is hands down Best In Show. It follows a group of eccentric yuppies and yokels who convene for the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show. Willard plays an aloof color commentator named Buck Laughlin, one of the funniest characters ever committed to film.

(Rent or buy on Amazon here)

Waiting For Guffman

In this 1996 gem also directed by Christopher Guest, the good folks of Blaine, Missouri put on a community theater musical about their small town. Willard plays opposite Catherine O’Hara, as Ron and Sheila, husband-and-wife travel agents with reserved ambitions of silver screen stardom. This one really showcased his abilities as an improviser. Major props to O’Hara as well for being perfect right alongside him.

(Watch for free on Vudu here)

A Mighty Wind

Willard plays Mike LaFontaine, the maybe insane manager of a large folk band in this criminally underappreciated flick. Mike found his 15 minutes as the star of a sitcom called Wha’ Happened? in the 70s, and has since been trying to repopularize its titular catchphrase. It’s funny literally every time Willard delivers it.

(Buy or rent on YouTube here)

Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle

Willard has limited screen time in this classic stoner comedy, but it’s every bit as hilarious and memorable as the bigger roles we’ve mentioned. He plays the dean of a medical school Kumar is interviewing for. After overhearing a worrisome phone convo with Harold, he spills coffee on his lap and reacts in a way that only Fred Willard could.

(Buy or rent on Amazon here)

This Is Spinal Tap…

If there’s one hyphenated word that best encapsulates Fred Willard’s comedic chops, it’s probably “pitch-perfect.” In Spinal Tap, he had a very brief role as Air Force Lt. Bob Hookstratten, stealing the scene and delivering one of the film’s funniest lines:

We are such fans of your music and all of your records…I’m not speaking of yours personally, but the whole genre of the rock and roll.

(Buy or rent on Amazon here)

Anchorman

Fred had a very sweet, understated disposition about him. We think this gentleness was best exemplified in his supporting role as Ed Harken, the perpetually bothered station manager for KVWN channel 4. Willard was so skilled at getting you to empathize with his characters’ frustrations, even with something as silly as dealing with school administration over German pornography found in your son’s possession.

(Buy or rent on Amazon here)

Wall-E

Fun fact: Fred Willard is the first and only live-action Pixar character. A pretty remarkable asterisk on one’s resumé, if you ask us. Fred plays megacorporation CEO Shelby Forthright, who evacuates the earth in 2105 once humanity can no longer coexist with the trash of its making. This is probably the best way to teach your kids about respecting the planet/Fred Willard.

(Available to stream on Disney+ right here)

I Think You Should Leave

Not a movie, but well worth mentioning. Last year, Netflix debuted the very funny and absurd sketch show I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson. One sketch features a mustachioed Willard as the substitute organ player at a funeral. He plays a wildly inappropriate song full of honks and whistles and buzzes and ragtime piano and plates shattering. It’s incredibly stupid. And Fred Willard’s genius lied in taking that sort of stupidity very seriously.

(The rest of ITYSL is available to stream on Netflix here)

Rest easy, Freddy Dubs. That smile will be missed.

Frank Costanza’s 10 Funniest Moments on Seinfeld

Constanza's Best Moments
(Sony Pictures)

We at The Dad were devastated to learn about the passing of legendary character actor, Jerry Stiller. The man exuded incalculable amounts of dad energy.

Most recently as Kevin James’ obnoxious father-in-law, Arthur, on King of Queens

But his most memorable character to date, bar none, number one with a bullet, was on Seinfeld, portraying George Costanza’s loud, opinionated, quick-tempered father, Frank.

In memoriam, let’s look back on Frank Costanza’s 10 most unforgettable Seinfeld moments.

“What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for?”

Season 7, “The Caddy” – Over the show’s eight-season run, Frank had a less than amicable rapport with his son’s bosses. When George goes “missing” at work, his boss, Yankee’s owner George Steinbrenner, breaks the news to his parents. Frank just wants to know why Steinbrenner traded Jay Buhner.

A Festivus for the rest of us

Season 9, “The Strike” – Annoyed with the routine pandemonium and unchecked commercialism of Christmas, Frank took it upon himself to invent an alternative holiday. On one December 23rd, Festivus was born. Between a nondescript aluminum pole and brazenly contentious traditions like The Airing of Grievances, Festivus perfectly encapsulates Frank’s chaotic demeanor and his commitment to every conviction he so obnoxiously holds.

This blooper with Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Season 8, “The Little Kicks” Seinfeld episodes were typically bookended with Jerry’s standup, and in later seasons concluded with short epilogue scenes. So when a blooper reel popped up under the end credits once, you know it was something special. Watch as Julia Louis-Dreyfus is unable to control her laughter as Jerry tees up one of the funniest line readings in sitcom history.

The singles night cooking incident

Season 8, “The Fatigues” – Frank Costanza has seen some shit, man. While serving as an Army cook in the Korean War, he accidentally gave his fellow troops food poisoning after serving them expired meat. When Kramer taps his culinary expertise to assist in catering a singles night, Frank winds up succumbing to an admittedly hilarious PTSD flashback.

Serenity now!

Season 9, “The Serenity Now” – The hallmark of Frank’s personality is his temper. In the show’s final season, a self-help recording advises he adopt the mantra “serenity now” to curtail his blood pressure. It’s a phrase rooted in composure and tranquility. Frank, of course, has difficulty with that part.

George’s bra salesman interview

Season 5, “The Sniffing Accountant” – When George lines up an interview for a sales job at a bra manufacturer, Frank hands down some tips. He reminisces on the first time he encountered a bra, grills George on what material they’re made from, and offers a refresher course on cup size. Just a very funny, uncomfortable scene.

Frank vs. the Seinfelds

Season 7, “The Shower Head” – One of Seinfeld’s funniest bits is the openly contemptuous relationship between Jerry’s parents and George’s parents. The Seinfelds “never cared for the Costanzas.” Upon learning this, Frank elects to move to Del Boca Vista, the Seinfeld’s retirement community in Florida, purely out of spite. Quintessential Frank behavior.

Manssier

Season 6, “The Doorman” – Frank fancies himself a bit of an innovator. In addition to Festivus, he also pioneered a brassiere for men. He names it The Manssiere, although Kramer suggests calling it The Bro. The episode’s funniest moment comes when mother Costanza walks in on Kramer helping Frank into a prototype.

Cape

Season 6, “The Chinese Woman” – Frank often operates without rhyme or reason. This is best exemplified by the fact that, when faced with divorce, he hired an attorney that wears a cape. Frank trusts him implicitly, but no further explanation of the cape is given. But hey, that’s Seinfeld, baby.

Chicken Hen

Season 7, “The Rye” – When the time came for the Costanzas to meet the parents of George’s fiancée, Susan, Frank makes good on his first impression by gifting them a lovely loaf of marble rye. Ultimately, he notices they neglected to serve it at dinner, and in a proficient display of pettiness, steals back the bread he bought. It’s a very funny story, but we’d like to highlight this one quote in particular, in which Frank fails to understand the mating habits of chickens and roosters.

You will be missed, Mr. Stiller. Serenity now and always.

Jerry Stiller, ‘Seinfeld’ Actor and Father of Ben Stiller Dies at 92

Jerry Stiller RIP
(Getty/Charles Eshelman)

The comedy world lost a legend on Sunday, as actor and comedian Jerry Stiller passed away from natural causes at the age of 92. Ben Stiller released the news on social media, along with a short, sweet tribute.

“He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad,” his tweet read.

Stiller had a long show business career, but most of The Dad audience probably remembers him from his role as the great Frank Costanza on “Seinfeld”. The younger generation may remember him from “King of Queens”, where he played Kevin James’ father-in-law. Stiller once said in an interview that James had to beg him to come out of retirement to do King of Queens, where he found his second major memorable TV role.

Still, in a lengthy entertainment career, it was his role as Frank Costanza that made him a household name. He was a scene-stealer on the long-running sitcom, and the entertainment world was outpouring with respect and tributes Monday morning at the news.

Stiller, who first found fame as part of a husband-wife comedy team with his wife Anne, had a career that spanned Broadway, TV, and film. Here’s Stiller talking about his iconic role on Seinfeld.

Rest in peace Jerry, you shall be missed.

WNBA Honors Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester

WNBA Honorary Draft
(Twitter/ESPN)

Last night, the NFL held its draft, making dreams come true for 32 young kids who will now have a chance to compete at the highest level of their sport. Many children grow up hoping to play for their favorite team, or for any team, in the sport they love, and watching them celebrate with their families – even if only via video, thanks to COVID-19 – is one of the highlights of the year.

The same was true for last week’s WNBA draft, where many young women experienced the same heady emotions as they realized their dream to play professional basketball. Things were slightly bittersweet though, because of the recent loss of someone many expected to have her own dreams come true during a future WNBA draft: Gianna Bryant.

The daughter of NBA legend Kobe Byrant perished along with her father in a tragic helicopter crash earlier this year. Like her dad, Gianna was a competitor, and in the past few months and years, it had become more and more clear that Gianna hoped to follow in her father’s footsteps and make a big splash in the basketball world.

She was planning to attend UCONN under mega-successful Geno Auriemma, and then take the Women’s NBA by storm. Her dream was cut short, but on the league’s draft night, they mounted a touching tribute to the young player, making her an honorary draft pick. The tribute included a heartfelt thank you from GiGi’s mom, Vanessa Bryant.

“Thank you so much for honoring my Gigi and selecting her to be a honorary draft pick this year. It would have been a dream come true for her. She worked tirelessly every single day. She wanted to be one of the greatest athletes of all time just like her daddy.”

The tribute to Gianna was part of a video played at the start of the draft, that began by honoring several late NBA commissioner David Stern, who helped launch the WNBA, and Kobe Bryant. They also memorialized the other young women on that helicopter with Kobe and Gianna who had basketball dreams of their own, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, with honorary draft picks as well.

NBA Rallies Around Karl Anthony-Towns When His Mom Is Lost to COVID-19

Baby Karl Towns and Jacqueline Cruz
(Instagram/karltowns)

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, more and more of us will be personally impacted by stories of illness and death. COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, as evidenced by the fact that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, one of Hollywood’s most famous couples, contracted the virus before the quarantine was even in place. Since then, governments across the globe have been putting rules and guidelines in place to help limit the spread of the virus.

The NBA was the first major sports league to suspend operations due to the pandemic after one of its players tested positive. Since then, more players have come down with symptoms, but it’s not limited to the athletes themselves.

A few weeks ago, Minnesota Timberwolves player Karl Anthony-Towns discussed the pandemic when his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, contracted the coronavirus.

Then the team announced that after a month of fighting, she passed away from complications related to COVID-19.

Almost immediately, players, fans, and media reacted to the news, offering sympathy and support to Anthony-Towns in the wake of the tragic news.

Chris Paul tweeted his shock and condolences.

Atlanta’s Trae Young used the opportunity to urge people not to take the virus lightly.

Jamal Crawford praised Jackie’s personality:

Timberwolves beat reporter echoes Crawford’s sentiment with a little background on Jackie’s role in her family’s life:

Tyler Conway of the Bleacher Report unearthed a video of the player and his mom when Anthony-Towns signed with Minnesota:

Fortunately, not everyone has been personally impacted by COVID-19, but tragic deaths like that of Jackie Cruz are a prominent reminder of the human toll this crisis is taking. Hopefully, this is as close as we’ll get, but if not, may we all have support from our communities like the NBA is showing Karl Anthony-Towns.

Here at The Dad, we hope you, your families, and communities stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest information, please utilize online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.

Bindi and Her Mom Pay Tribute to the Late Steve Irwin on His Birthday

Tribute to Steve Irwin
(Twitter/TerriIrwin)

Bindi Irwin has been in the public eye her entire life, thanks to her famous father. Steve Irwin, the Australian Crocodile Hunter, had a boisterous personality and love for animals that endeared him to millions across the globe before his death in 2006, after being stung by a stingray. He left behind his wife Terri and his two children, daughter Bindi and son Robert (who looks just like his dad.)

In the years since their dad’s death, Bindi and Robert have grown up as wildlife ambassadors themselves, and as siblings and friends who’ve weathered the storm of their dad’s tragic passing as they too became celebrities. Over the past few years, Bindi and Robert have showcased their bond, and their love for their dad, on social media, celebrating milestone’s in each other’s lives and paying tribute to their father, often at the same time.

February 22nd was Steve Irwin’s birthday, and he would have been 58. To commemorate the occasion, Bindi again took to Instagram to share her feelings with her father, and the world.

Alongside a picture of herself as a toddler and her dad enjoying her company, she described how she paid tribute to him that day.

“I had an extra strong cup of tea just how you liked it. I hugged Mum for you and told her how much we love her. Robert and I went on a hike through the mountains you cherished. I watched one of your documentaries with Chandler and shared stories about you. I walked through your office in the zoo and smiled at our old family photographs. Today and every day I miss you and love you beyond description. You’re always with me.”

Bindi’s mother and Steve’s widow Terri echoed that sentiment with a tweet of her own, showcasing some family photos.

Terri wrote, “Today would’ve been Steve’s 58th birthday. While my heart aches missing him every day, I’m determined to celebrate what he loved the most. He was happiest spending time @AustraliaZoo w/ @BindiIrwin & @RobertIrwin. He was my best friend, best dad, & built the best Zoo. I love you.”

It’s clear from these tributes, and the remarkable ways Bindi and Robert are carrying on their father’s legacy, just how much Steve meant to his family. The man did a lot of animals and Australia, but his biggest impact was on his family.

Elderly Man Keeps His Late Wife’s Memory Alive in Emotional Super Bowl Ad

Google Helps Keep Memory Alive
(YouTube/Google)

Super Bowl commercials have a fine line to walk to be memorable. Try too hard to go for frat-boy joke clichés, and your millions of dollars are wasted in an instant. Go too hard for a positive or sentimental ad that doesn’t hit the right notes? You’re forgotten before people get to the water cooler the next day. Kill off an iconic mascot? Well, you could be in hot water before the spot even airs.

But Google, they did the thing with their Super Bowl ad.

Google’s emotional Super Bowl ad works because simplicity is the key. It’s not too flashy, it doesn’t smack you over the head, it lets the narrative flow through the elderly man narrating the spot. The commercial features a beautiful moment of the man remembering his late wife and all the little things that were part of their relationship. The “twist”, if you could even call it that, is the man is recounting stories of his late wife to his Google Assistant. And that way, the machine can remember and talk about the person his late wife was.

As the man tells his Google assistant different things about their relationship (Lorette hated his mustache, the way she laughed, the things hse liked), his AI-device remembers it. Supposedly, the ad is based on a real story of the grandfather of a Google employee.

“At 85, to an audience of millions, he’ll be making his film debut,” Google’s chief marketing officer said in a statement. “We couldn’t be happier for him.”

It’s a simple love story, recounted through the years, and it hits all the right notes. Sweet, sentimental, but more celebratory than sad. Google has the first ad that seems destined to check the right boxes this Sunday (sorry, Planters), and maybe even bring a tear or two to your party.

#GirlDad Is Trending After ESPN Anchor’s Emotional Kobe Tribute

#GirlDad is Trending
(Twitter/michaeleaves)

The sports world was rocked by the tragic death of Kobe Bryant over the weekend, and tributes to the legend and the others on board have been emerging ever since. People have praised Kobe’s curiosity, his competitiveness, the early stages of his second chapter. The Athletic did a beautiful piece on Gigi. Newspapers have chronicled the other victims and their stories.

But one of the most emotional, and widely shared, tributes came from ESPN anchor Elle Duncan.

She described her only meeting with Kobe, which occurred when she was eight months pregnant. Kobe gave her a huge hi-five and gushed when he found out she was having a girl and talked at length about how girls were awesome and how much she’d enjoy it. He told her to be grateful for that gift because “girls were amazing” and “I’m a girl dad.”

Fighting back tears, she recounted how he talked about his daughters and how much he loved them. When it came to sports, he talked about how his oldest was an accomplished volleyball player and the youngest was a toddler, so he wasn’t sure what she’d do. But the middle one, he told her, was a basketball player.

“The middle one, she was a monster, she was a beast,” he told her. “She’s better than me at that age. She’s got it.” That girl, Gigi, also died in the helicopter crash on Sunday.

Duncan tearfully closed by saying the only small measure of comfort for her, reflecting on their meeting, was that Kobe died doing what he loved.

“Being a dad. Being a girl dad.”

It wasn’t long before #girldad was trending on Twitter, as people claimed the mantle or simply shared the moving tribute.

As a #GirlDad myself, it was awesome to see how people responded to her beautiful tribute and made being a great dad a way to honor Kobe’s legacy.

Tweet Roundup: Tributes to the Late Kobe Bryant

Twitter Roundup of Kobe Tributes
(Twitter/TheoHernandez)

When an influential figure dies, a politician or a musician or an actor or an athlete whose career and persona spread far and wide and impacted many people’s lives, the world seems to stop to take a collective breath and honor that person.

This phenomenon was in full effect on Sunday and Monday, once news spread that NBA legend and Lakers great Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash, alongside his 13-year-old daughter and 7 others. Kobe had a larger-than-life persona and was admired, feared, and respected by countless people inside and outside of the NBA and the sporting world in general. His impact on the culture was made apparent by the outpouring of tributes, including during Sunday night’s Grammy awards.

But nowhere is this better represented than on social media, the most effective tool most of us have for sharing our thoughts and reaching thousands upon thousands of people across the globe with our remembrances of the person who has passed on. All over Twitter, people shared their stories about Kobe, what he meant to them, and how he changed their lives.

We’ve gathered a few.

The high school he attended before leaping straight into the NBA:

Former teammates and rivals:

He transcended his sport to impact football players:

Soccer:

Tennis:

Hockey:

Musical artists:

Entrepreneurs:

Billboards:

Subway signs:

Newspapers:

ESPN obviously has a lot to say, but sometimes fans say it best:

RIP Kobe.

Kobe Was Coaching His Daughter to Be the Family’s Next Basketball Star

Kobe & Gigi Bryant
(Instagram/kobebryant)

The world was dealt a tragic blow Sunday when news broke that basketball legend Kobe Bryant had died tragically in a helicopter crash at the age of 41. The news became even more heart-breaking when it was revealed his 13-year-old daughter Gianna also died in the helicopter crash.

They were flying to Gianna’s basketball game, a game that Kobe was going to coach. Gianna (Gigi) was Kobe’s second-eldest daughter and, like her dad, a devoted baller. When people in the basketball world told Kobe it was a shame he didn’t have a son to carry on his legacy in the game, he was quick to correct them and point to Gigi as his heir apparent on the court, something he told Jimmy Kimmel in an appearance on his talk show in 2018.


“The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans would come up to me and she’ll be standing next to me,” Bryant said, “and they’ll be like, ‘You’ve gotta have a boy, you and V gotta have a boy. You gotta have somebody to carry on your tradition, the legacy.”

“She’s like, ‘Oy, I got this,” Bryant said. “I’m like that’s right,” Bryant said. “Yes, you do, you got this.”

Kobe was one of the most high profile WNBA supporters around, partly because of his daughter’s love for the game.

Gigi even showcased some of her dad’s moves on the court.

One of the most shared clips on social media Sunday was a clip of Kobe in the stands with his daughter, as Kobe goes full dad-mode as he breaks down the game to Gigi.

Social media was consumed with tributes for Kobe, from utterly shattered and devastated friends and former teammates, to others in the sports world, teams found different ways to handle the news. Games were played, but every team started their game by taking a 24-second shot clock violation, paying homage to Kobe’s jersey number. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said no Mav would ever wear #24 again, in respect to Bryant.

And while the tributes poured in, the most poignant ones mentioned the bond between the dad and daughter, and the hopes the former had for the latter.

Sunday’s crash rocked the sports world and the devastating tragedy will continue to reverberate around a game Bryant left an indelible mark on. And as the sports world will always hold Bryant up for the shots he made, it will also mourn the shots Gigi will never get to take.

 

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My Gigi

A post shared by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on