Boston Red Sox Player Named Daughter 'Kobie' in Honor of Kobe Bryant: 'There's No Secret There'

Athletes across all sports have opened up about Kobe Bryant's vast influence

Baseball player Kevin Pillar has always been a big fan of Kobe Bryant — so much so that the Boston Red Sox outfielder even named his daughter after the late NBA star.

Pillar, who spent time with the San Francisco Giants last season before joining the Sox, grew up in Los Angeles and was a big fan of Bryant and the Lakers team, ESPN reported. During his time with the franchise, Bryant won three championships from 2000 to 2002, before earning his final two NBA titles in 2009 and 2010.

When Pillar’s daughter was born in October 2017, the 31-year-old saw it as the perfect chance to pay tribute to his basketball hero — and he and his wife, Amanda, picked the name “Kobie” for their baby girl.

“My wife wouldn’t admit to naming her after Kobe Bryant,” Pillar previously told the Toronto Sun, “But it was a name I grew up around and obviously I was a big Kobe Bryant fan, there’s no secret there.”

Kevin Pillar daughter Kobie
Kevin Pillar/Instagram

“We wanted to name our daughter something with a ‘K,'” Pillar explained. “We wanted her to be KP; that was the nickname I had growing up. We bounced around a bunch of different ‘K’ names, and Kobe came out one day on a road trip and the name Kobie Rae came out and it was in our final two.”

“We waited until she was born,” he continued. “Maybe 30 minutes after she was born, we decided on her name.”

Pillar’s tribute undoubtedly takes on increased meaning after Bryant’s tragic death in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash, which also killed his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.

According to ESPN, Pillar said he was at the park with his wife and his daughter, full name Kobie Rae, when he received the news of the tragedy.

Gianna Bryant and her father, former NBA player Kobe Bryant, attend the WNBA All-Star Game 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on July 27, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Gianna and Kobe Bryant in 2019. Ethan Miller/Getty

“I’ll have that memory as long as I live,” Pillar told ESPN.

Like Bryant before him, Pillar had hoped to one day write children’s books following his athletic career. He planned on approaching Bryant for advice when the time came.

“That’s something that’s going to haunt me,” he admitted.

Earlier this month, the New York Times announced that three of Bryant’s books that he co-wrote with his production company, Granity Studios, took the top three spots on its middle grade hardcover best-seller list.

“I enjoy stories and creating content that’s going to move people,” Bryant told Sports Illustrated in March 2019, while discussing his book,The Wizenard Series: Training Camp, the first book in his inspirational YA series.

The Lakers legend added: “I enjoy creating things that you can look at and say, ‘That forced me to look inward and challenge myself, or challenge others.’”

Bryant, 41, was honored over the weekend at the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced on Saturday that the All-Star Game’s MVP award would permanently be named after Bryant. Kawhi Leonard of the L.A. Clippers was the first recipient of the award.

If you would like to help the families of the victims of the crash, consider donating to the Mamba on Three Fund. Contributions to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation will help support youth sports.

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