Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant lent his voice to calls for women to one day be allowed to compete in the NBA, claiming there are female stars who could make the leap right now.
Having been seen with his daughter, Gianna, at numerous NBA games recently, Bryant was quizzed on whether there may one day be a future for her in the league where he made his name.
Speaking exclusively to CNN, the LA Lakers legend said: “I think there are a couple of players who could play in the NBA right now honestly.
“There’s a lot of players with a lot of skill that could do it.”
Bryant went on to name three WNBA ( Women’s National Basketball Association) stars who he believes could make the jump into the men’s league.
“Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Elena Della Donne. There’s a lot of great players out there so they could certainly keep up with them,” he said.
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It’s perhaps no surprise that Bryant named Taurasi as one of his picks to succeed in the NBA.
The 2004 first overall pick in the WNBA Draft - and 2009 WNBA MVP - has been the WNBA all-time leading scorer since June 2017, is a nine-time WNBA All-Star and is a three-time WNBA champion with Phoenix Mercury.
Her nickname is White Mamba, a derivative of Bryant’s own nickname ‘Black Mamba’, owing to her habit of scoring in clutch situations.
Last October, Elena Della Donne led Washington Mystics to their first WNBA title, picking up her second WNBA MVP title in the process. The six foot five inches small forward also became the first ever WNBA star to join the 50-40-90 club.
To join the unofficial club, a player must shoot more than 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the foul line. She also had a percentage of 97.4, which is a record for a player with at least 100 attempts.
While Maya Moore sat out the 2019 season to focus on family and her faith, she is also a WNBA MVP winner, taking the award in 2014.
Additionally, she had won four WNBA championships with the Minnesota Lynx before she turned 29.
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Bryant has four daughters. The second-eldest, Gianna, is an avid basketball player and fan.
The five-time NBA champion says he had watched little basketball since he retired, but his daughter’s love of the game sparked his interest enough that he now coaches her team.
Videos of Gianna’s basketball skills have gone viral despite bring only 13.
NBA Legend Reggie Miller was recently caught on camera trying to convince Bryant that his daughter should attend Miller’s alma mater UCLA for college.
However, her father insisted Gianna is “hellbent” on going to University of Connecticut, the alma mater of Taurasi and Moore.