WNBA Star Candace Parker Pays Tribute to Kobe Bryant and His Daughter Gigi at Season Opener

Candace Parker wrote the names of Kobe and Gigi Bryant on her shoes, as well as the initials of Breonna Taylor

Candace Parker, Kobe Bryant
Candace Parker, Gianna Bryant and Kobe Bryant. Photo: Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images; Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Candace Parker is honoring Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.

As the WNBA season started on Saturday, the Los Angeles Sparks star, 34, paid tribute to the NBA legend, 41, and the 13-year-old, who died on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

A photo shared by the team on social media highlighted Parker’s choice of footwear: on which she wrote Kobe and Gigi’s names, as well as “BT,” or Breonna Taylor — the 26-year-old emergency room technician who was fatally shot by police in March.

Vanessa Bryant went on to give the touching tribute a social media shout-out, reposting the image alongside a sticker reading “Hugs and kisses.”

The Sparks defeated the Phoenix Mercury 99-76 to win their season opener.

Candace Parker
Candace Parker's shoes. Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images
The Los Angeles Sparks facing off against the Phoenix Mercury. Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The WNBA has also dedicated their 2020 season to Taylor.

We are dedicating this season to Breonna Taylor, an outstanding EMT who was murdered over 130 days ago in her home. Breonna Taylor was dedicated and committed to uplifting everyone around her," New York Liberty player Layshia Clarendon said on Saturday.

"We are also dedicating this season to 'Say Her Name' campaign, a campaign committed to saying the names and fighting for justice for Black women, Black women who are so often forgotten in this fight for justice, who do not have people marching in the streets for them. We will say her name,” she added.

In honor of Taylor, all New York Liberty and the Seattle Storm players had the EMT’s name on the back of their jerseys — as did the Los Angeles Sparks and their Saturday opponents, the Phoenix Mercury.

Additionally, the court where all WNBA games will be played this season was painted with the words “Black Lives Matter.”

Ahead of the game, Parker also stressed the commitment both she and her teammates are making a commitment to stand up against systemic racism and sexism.

“I think voting is so important and it’s not just in the presidential election,” she said. “I’m really proud to be representing the Sparks because we have kind of added that pillar to the Change Has No Offseason and that we’ve added voting and social justice and all those things to our list of things that we want to accomplish.”

“And not just voting and not knowing what you’re voting for. At this day and age information is out there you’re able to go seek it and it’s our job to use our platform to help people understand how important it is,” she added.

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