When UL Women's Basketball Head Coach Garry Brodhead heard about the passing of NBA Legend Kobe Bryant, his first thought wasn't about Kobe the basketball player. Instead Kobe, the dad.
"As a dad, I was able to coach my daughters," an emotional Brodhead explains. "I love basketball. But I didn't know what women's basketball was until I coached them. That made me fall in love with the game."
Kobe Bryant, his 13-year old daughter Gianna Bryant, and 7 others passed away in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles Saturday. The group of 9 were on their way to Gianna's girls basketball tournament at Kobe's Mamba Academy, where Bryant was the team's head coach.
Bryant has been an avid supporter of women's basketball. He and Gianna attended several WNBA, NBA and Women's College Basketball games together. Gianna was a big fan of UCONN and had expressed in becoming a Lady Huskers star in the future.
"He made a statement that I thought was very important that happened to me," Brodhead said. "I saw basketball through my eyes, but then Kobe said, I saw it through Gigi. He said I was able to see basketball through a different light through her, and that's what happened to me."
Because of Kobe's growing interest in the sport, Brodhead believes he could've taken women's hoops to a new level with his support.
"I feel that we lost somebody that's extremely important that could've helped the women's program. Not just WNBA but I'm talking about college. He was really excited about the women's game. When you have somebody of his figure... and he was a doer too, he didn't just talk about things. He was very driven and it looked like he was starting to be really driven about the women's program. As you get older, we need that. You need young people to grow the game. He was going to be a big source of that."