Sports

Sabrina Ionescu Makes Basketball History–Just Hours After Speaking at the Funeral of Her Mentor Kobe Bryant

Sabrina Ionescu Makes Basketball History–Just Hours After Speaking at the Funeral of Her Mentor Kobe Bryant

This week, Sabrina Ionescu made sports history by becoming the first NCAA basketball player—male or female—to score 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 1,000 assists in a career.

Not only that, the 22-year-old Oregon Ducks guard helped her team achieve their 74-66 victory against Sanford just hours after delivering an emotional speech at the memorial of her mentor Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who was also killed in the same helicopter crash which claimed Bryant.

“I wanted to be part of the generation that changed basketball for Gigi and her teammates. Where being born female didn’t mean being born behind. Where greatness wasn’t divided by gender,” said Ionescu. “‘You have too much to give to stay silent.’ That’s what he said. That’s what he believed. That’s what he lived—through Gigi, through me, through his investment in women’s basketball.”

Photo by Sabrina Ionescu

The game was also notable due to how Ionescu recorded the 26th triple-double of her career—and she had missed most of the team’s warmups because she had been battling the flu.

Ionescu took particular notice of the fact that her historic milestone took place on 2/24/20—which are the jersey numbers of Gianna, Bryant, and Ionescu respectively.

“That one was for [Kobe],” Ionescu told ESPN after the game. “To do it on 2/24/20 is huge. We had talked about it in the pre-season. I can’t really put that into words. He’s looking down and really proud of me and just really happy for this moment with my team.”

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Published at Wed, 26 Feb 2020 13:35:38 +0000