Sabrina Ionescu selected No. 1 by New York Liberty in WNBA draft, while Gianna Bryant is an honorary pick

    Sabrina Ionescu brings the ball up the court against Stanford in the Pac-12 Conference title game on March 8.

    (CNN)While it remains uncertain when the WNBA season will begin and what that might look like because of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was no doubt who the top pick in the 2020 draft would be.

    That honor went to Sabrina Ionescu, with the New York Liberty selecting the Oregon Ducks guard at No. 1 overall.
    "I've been working for this my entire basketball career, and just super excited to be able to see that come to fruition," Ionescu said.
      Additionally, the WNBA honored Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant and Payton Chester -- who passed away in a helicopter accident with Kobe Bryant on January 26.
      All three were named as honorary draft picks on Friday. The WNBA plans to honor Kobe Bryant, a passionate advocate of the league, during the upcoming season.
      "I think it was a very beautiful thing that the WNBA did to be able to draft those three girls," Ionescu said. "They deserved it."
      In a video message on ESPN, Vanessa Bryant said, "Thank you so much for honoring my Gigi and selecting her to be an honorary draft pick this year.
      "It would have been a dream come true for her. She worked tirelessly every single day. She wanted to be one of the greatest athletes of all time just like her daddy. So thank you, thank you for honoring my little girl."
      "Kobe and Gigi loved the WNBA," Vanessa Bryant continued, pointing out she was wearing Kobe's WNBA sweatshirt while speaking in the video. She also congratulated this year's WNBA draft picks.
      "Work hard. Never settle. Use that Mamba mentality," Vanessa Bryant said.
      To carry on Kobe and Gianna Bryant's legacy, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced Friday the creation of the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award. The honor will recognize an individual or group who has made significant contributions to the visibility, perception and advancement of women's and girls' basketball at all levels.
      "Kobe was an incredible champion of women's basketball and Gianna shared his passion and dedication to our game," Engelbert said in a press release. "The Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award will honor their legacy and reflect Kobe's commitment to mentoring the next generation of players, promoting the game and giving back to the community."