Sabrina Ionescu pens touching tribute to Kobe Bryant on 2/24 for Players Tribune

Oregon Ducks star Sabrina Ionescu has a well-documented, personal relationship with the late Kobe Bryant.  On Monday, February 24th (2/24), the day of the Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna, Ionescu penned a tribute letter in The Players Tribune.  Read it in full here, titled, “Dear Oregon Basketball,” wherein Sabrina details her appreciation for Ducks Nation and what the team is setting out to accomplish this season, as well as discussing her reaction when she heard the tragic news of Kobe’s passing, along with GiGi and the seven others on that terrible day.

Ionescu talked about how Kobe assured her she made the right decision by returning to Oregon for her senior year:

“…the second thing that convinced me I’d made the right decision, it happened a few days later when I was in Los Angeles for the Wooden Award presentation. As part of the trip, Kobe had invited me to stop by this gym and serve as a guest assistant coach for his girls. And the one thing about Kobe is, he tells no lies. So I knew that if he thought I should have declared for the draft, he’d have let me know. With love, for sure, but he’d have let me know. Pretty much the first thing he said to me, though, when I walked through the doors — well, it wasn’t even him saying anything, actually. It was more just like….. a smile and a nod. You know what I mean? That was our secret language. He gave me this smile and nod. That was him letting me know he thought I’d made the right call.”


She also wrote about her immediate thoughts in the aftermath of his passing:

When I first heard the news about Kobe’s crash, it was hard not to start questioning things. It was just, like, HOW? How could this amazing father and husband be taken away from the world? How could someone as full of life as Gianna be taken away from the world before she even got to LIVE her life? How could nine people be snatched away from their loved ones — just like that, in a blink? How could we all be living in a world without Kobe Bryant??

How could I have lost my friend?


Read the full piece here.

Ionescu and No.3 Oregon visit No.4 Stanford in a major conference test on Monday night, nationally televised at 6pm on ESPN 2.

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