Jeanie Buss discloses she was in talks with Kobe Bryant to create co-ed league for Gianna

Jason Simpson
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers president Jeanie Buss recently revealed that she was in talks with team legend Kobe Bryant about potentially creating a co-ed basketball league for his daughter Gianna.

“I had started talking to Kobe because the way (his late daughter) Gianna was devouring basketball, it wasn’t going to be enough for her to be a champion on a college team,” Buss told The Athletic. “She was going to want a bigger challenge. Something that had never been done. Now whether it would have been, she’d want to play in the NBA, … back in the day Ann Meyers (when signed with the Indiana Pacers) and Nancy Lieberman (when she played in the USBL a men’s pro league). What I was talking to Kobe about was like a co-ed team. We’ve got the G League. We’ve got the WNBA, got the NBA. Why not a co-ed league?

“There’s nothing that would influence more change than to physically watch a man and a woman in a game solving a problem, working together to overcome a defense in order to score, and like seeing men and women working together … I’ll probably bring it up again. But you know, Gianna was so inspiring because she was like Kobe. She would process information, and then she’d need more and more … She was like, ‘OK, I did that. Now give me more challenges.’ That was Kobe. You know, he just wanted more and more and more. That’s why he was such a killer on the court. You know, he just kept refining his game. learning more moves, dissecting opponents, teams before we played. He knew what all their moves were going to be, like, relentless. That’s the heart of a champion, right?”

The younger Bryant was constantly surrounded by the game of basketball, and she had an extremely promising future in the sport. The elder Bryant was entirely committed to helping her pursue her dreams of playing basketball at a high level.

A co-ed league would have been revolutionary. It would have been a great source of exposure for women’s basketball, and there’s no doubt that the younger Bryant would have been one of the faces of the league.

Perhaps a similar co-ed concept will develop in the near future.

The elder Bryant finished his NBA career with an incredible list of accolades. He was an 18-time All-Star, two-time scoring champion, one-time MVP and five-time NBA champion. He averaged 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game over his nearly two decades in the league.

The Lakers legend was inducted into the Hall of Fame earlier this year.

Tragically, the elder Bryant and his daughter passed away in a helicopter accident last year.

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Jason is excited about the LeBron James era of Lakers basketball and hopes that the end result will be multiple championships.