"Without hesitation, he said, 'I would have five more girls if I could. I'm a girl dad."
As the world continues to mourn father of four Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, many are remembering Bryant for his role not only as a basketball great but also as a #girldad.
That is how SportsCenter anchor Elle Duncan remembers him. On ESPN this week she recalled meeting Bryant back in 2018 when she was 8 months pregnant.
She says Bryant asked her "How are you? How close are you? What are you having?" and when she told him she was expecting a girl he gave her a high five and said, "Girls are the best."
The two talked about raising girls, with Duncan asking Bryant for parenting advice. She also asked him if he and his wife Vanessa were going to have any more kids.
"He said that his wife Vanessa really wanted to try again for a boy, but was sort of jokingly concerned that it would be another girl. I was like, 'Four girls, are you joking? What would you think, how would you feel?'" Duncan recalls
She continues: "Without hesitation, he said, 'I would have five more girls if I could. I'm a girl dad."
As Duncan noted on Instagram, she couldn't have known that Bryant, then a father of three, would welcome another baby girl, little Capri Kobe, in 2019. All she knew was that she was impressed by this man who loved his girls so much.
"I'm glad to have had that brief time with him. I'm so sorry that 4th girl won't know her dad," Duncan writes.
During his 2018 conversation with Duncan, Bryant remarked on the athletic abilities of his middle daughter, Gianna, telling Duncan she was better than he'd been at her age.
Tragically, Bryant and Gianna died en route to a basketball game where she would have played and he would have coached.
"When I reflect on this tragedy," Duncan said on ESPN, "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."
Our hearts are with the Bryant family this week, and all the families of the victims of the helicopter crash.