WNBA Commissioner on Kobe Bryant Wearing Sweater with Their Logo: 'I Never Thought He Would'

Kobe Bryant was snapped wearing an orange WNBA sweatshirt at a Los Angeles Lakers game with his daughter, Gianna, last year

In what would be one of the last public photographs of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, the NBA legend was pictured sporting a bright orange sweater with the WNBA logo at a Los Angeles Lakers game in December.

This week, the league’s commissioner, Cathy Engelbert, admitted she was surprised Bryant wore the logo sweatshirt, especially at an event that would garner much media attention.

“On December 29th, one of the last pictures with Gigi was Kobe wearing the orange WNBA sweatshirt we gave him,” Engelbert told the audience at the 2020 Makers Conference, according to Yahoo Sports.

“I never thought he would wear it, by the way,” she continued.

Before his death, Bryant regularly appeared at WNBA and women’s college games, bringing much-needed attention to the female programs.

“There he was court-side at a Lakers game,” Engelbert added of the Bryant photo. “Thank goodness we have that picture to remember his advocacy by.”

Kobe Bryant
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Bryant also founded the Mamba Sports Academy, a training facility dedicated to providing girls and other children with access to sports.

WNBA players have opened up about how much Bryant meant to the league since the fatal Jan. 26 helicopter crash that killed him, Gianna and seven others.

“I know everything’s supposed to happen for a reason, I can’t find a reason for that,” Skylar Diggins-Smith, 29, told PEOPLE in January. “I won’t accept that, yet.”

Bryant won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers during his 20-year career and is considered one of the greatest players to ever pick up a basketball. The 41-year-old was expected to be a first-ballot entry into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame later this year.

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers

“Every single player had a story they could share about him, so the news — just like for the rest of the world — was a shock to us,” Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm previously told Good Morning America.

“We just wanna remember the people who lost their lives,” the 25-year-old added. “It’s tragic. To think there were kids involved makes the situation even worse.”

Bryant and Gianna were laid to rest at a Pacific View Memorial Park and Mortuary in Corona Del Mar, California on Feb. 7, according to the date of disposition on death certificates obtained by PEOPLE.

News of the father and daughter’s final resting place comes ahead of a scheduled public memorial service for all victims of the crash on Monday, Feb. 24 at Staples Center.

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 Sports Foundation will help support youth sports.

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