Of the countless commentaries about passing of Lakers star Kobe Bryant, none have had as much impact as the tribute delivered by ESPN Sports Center anchor Elle Duncan. On Monday, Duncan recalled her one and only meeting with Bryant at an ESPN event two years ago in New York. Duncan spoke about her conversation with Bryant about fatherhood, specifically, about being the father of daughters. Duncan was pregnant at the time and told Bryant she was having a girl. According to Duncan, Bryant lit up.
"Girls are the best," Bryant told her and later said, "I would have five more girls if I could. I'm a 'girl dad.'"
One of Bryant's four daughters, 13-year old Gianna, a budding basketball star, died in the helicopter crash as she, two of her teammates and five others traveled with Bryant to an eighth grade girls basketball tournament. Duncan choked back tears as she finished her commentary.
"When I reflect on this tragedy and the half-hour I spent with Kobe Bryant two years ago, I suppose that the only small source of comfort for me, is knowing that he died doing what he loved the most. Being a dad...being a 'girl dad.'"
Since Duncan's tribute aired and then was posted and shared all over social media, the hashtag #girldad was born. Fathers from all walks of life began posting and sharing pictures with their daughters with the #girldad hashtag, recognizing the love they have for their daughters and paying tribute to Bryant's relationship with his. Recognizable national figures have been posting, as well as well known local dads like former Buckeye basketball star Jared Sullinger, Ohio State football assistant coaches Kevin Wilson and Al Washington, former Buckeye great Mike Doss, former Ohio State President Gordon Gee and many more. Check out some of the #girldad posts here.