“Shooting definitely runs in the family”: Sabrina Ionescu appreciates Kobe Bryant’s daughter Bianka after a hoop session

2021 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony
2021 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony

New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu spent time with the Bryant family during their recent trip to New York City. Kobe Bryant mentored Ionescu and multiple other WNBA players before his shocking death in January 2020. Women’s basketball became an important aspect of the game for him due to having all daughters who loved watching games with him.

Kobe’s widow, Vanessa, treated their daughters, Bianka and Capri, to a New York vacation with basketball becoming part of the trip. Bianka played basketball with Ionescu to get tips from one of the WNBA's best shooters, giving Ionescu the full circle moment of mentoring a Bryant daughter.

Vanessa shared an Instagram video of the trip highlights, including Ionescu shooting hoops with Bianka.

The 7-year-old showed the Bryant family tradition of having a passion for basketball by shooting with the WNBA sensation. Various NBA and WNBA names spend time with the Bryant daughters thanks to Kobe developing a strong relationship with so many players.

Sabrina Ionescu commented on Vanessa’s Instagram post referencing the family legacy.

“Shooting definitely runs in the family”

Vanessa replied with a funny line, “Keep waiting on that pass,” since Bianka took all the shots in the video. Kobe’s style of putting up more shots than he passed up makes it a funnier comment about a wholesome activity.

Sabrina Ionescu's continuing relationship with the Bryant family

The relationship between Sabrina Ionescu and Kobe Bryant started during her college career in January 2019. Kobe took Gianna Bryant and a couple of her childhood teammates to an Oregon vs. USC game with courtside tickets. Ionescu was a star at Oregon and met them after the game.

The bond grew stronger when Ionescu traveled to work out with Gianna and even helped Kobe coach the Mamba Ballers girl basketball team for a few games.

Ionescu took the deaths of Kobe and Gianna hard after creating memories with them. Gianna’s love of basketball set the motion for Kobe to attend Sabrina’s games and cultivate a connection.

During a public memorial shortly after his death, Ionescu said:

“More importantly, he didn’t just show up in my life and leave. He stayed. We kept in touch, always texting, calls, game visits. I’d drop a triple-double and have a text from him, “Another double triple-double; I see you” with a flex emoji. Another game, another text. “Yo, Beast Mode,” or “Easy money.”

Sabrina Ionescu is paying that forward by being there for Kobe’s family and still expressing that love.

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