The NBA world honoured the tragic deaths of Kobe and Gianna Bryant at their public memorial service at the Staples Center on February 24. Along with Vanessa Bryant and NBA legends Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal, the 'White Mamba' Diana Taurasi delivered a heartfelt speech about growing up while watching Bryant and continuing Gianna Bryant's legacy. Here is 'White Mamba' Diana Taurasi's speech on Kobe Bryant.
In her speech at the memorial, White Mamba Diana Taurasi talks about Bryant and Gianna separately. She starts the speech by talking about Kobe Bryant and growing up while watching Kobe Bryant play. White Mamba Diana Taurasi further talks about Bryant's hard work, and how it has not only inspired her but also the city of Los Angeles.
White Mamba Diana Taurasi talks about Gianna towards the end of her speech, comparing her passion to her fathers while also making a LeBron James joke. She expressed that Gianna, also known as Gigi by her loved ones, is the future of women's basketball. Towards the end of her speech, Taurasi speaks directly to Vanessa Bryant, promising her that Gigi's legacy will be carried out.
During her speech, White Mamba Diana Taurasi spoke briefly about her interactions with the Lakers legend. She revealed that she received texts from Bryant asking what drill they all did when they were 13, and even talked about the Mambas visiting Phoenix for a big AAU tournament. A few days before his death, LeBron James had revealed that he felt Diana Taurasi would be one of the WNBA players who can play in the NBA right away.
After his death, Taurasi had also credited Bryant for helping grow women's basketball. Her own nickname, White Mamba, is taken from Kobe Bryant's Black Mamba for scoring during clutch moments. Taurasi was the 2004 WNBA first overall draft pick and has led the all-time score list since 2017. Taurasi is a 9-time WNBA All-Star member and a 3-time WNBA champion with her team Phoenix Mercury.