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LA Lakers owner Jeanie Buss called Kobe Bryant ‚family‘ in an emotional tribute, and said he inspired her to be a strong female leader in the NBA

Foto: Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images
Jeanie Buss, left, at a basketball game with Kobe Bryant, pictured right holding his daughter Bianka, in 2017.

  • Jeanie Buss, who owns the LA Lakers, posted a heartfelt tribute to Lakers legends Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash.
  • She recalled a lunch in 2013 with Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who also killed in the crash.
  • Buss said Bryant told Gianna in the meeting that he wanted to show her an example of a strong female leader in the NBA.
  • Buss said that she believes Bryant had another purpose – to give her strength and inspiration after her own father’s recent death.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The owner of the Los Angeles Lakers posted an emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant, in which she said he was like family to her, and inspired her to be a strong, female leader in a male-dominated sport.

Jeanie Buss posted a message to her Instagram page on Thursday praising the longtime Lakers player, who was killed alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Buss said she counts Bryant as family since her father, former Lakers owner Jerry Buss, „loved you like a son.“

View this post on Instagram

Kobe, I don’t know how to express what you mean to me, my family and the Los Angeles Lakers. My father loved you like a son, which makes us family. When you invited me to lunch shortly after my father passed away, I was struggling to find motivation and purpose. Kobe, you brought Gianna with you to spend some time with me. You explained that you wanted to show her that women can be leaders in the NBA, just like the men. At first, it seemed like an action of a devoted father setting an example for his daughter. But in actuality – and I am positively sure you knew EXACTLY what you were doing – what you did was give me the inspiration and strength I was searching for. I reflect on that day often and it makes me smile and it makes me strong. I call on that memory whenever I feel down and need a bit of courage. For everything you did on the court that filled me with so much joy and love, for all the lives you changed through basketball itself, it was that day with Gigi that reignited my drive and determination. Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri – I am so sorry for your loss. We are grateful to have you in our lives and we will always be here for you. To the families that also lost loved ones on Sunday, the entire Laker family mourns with you. Laker Nation – we are one family grieving the loss of people we all loved dearly. We will mourn together, cry together but we will also heal together, love together and win TOGETHER. We love you. Kobe – that’s what you made you so unbelievably special. You not only inspired us towards greatness, you showed us the way. : : To learn more about how you can help the families affected by this tragedy go to MambaOnThree.org and to further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports visit MambaSportsFoundation.org #peace #love #joy #family #Mamba #Mambacita #2 #8 #24 : : Picture taken in February 2016 on the way to #NBAAllStar game in #Toronto

A post shared by Jeanie Buss (@jeaniebuss) on

She said she, like all Lakers fans, are „one family grieving the loss of people we all loved dearly.“

She recounted a 2013 meeting with Bryant and Gianna, not long after Jerry Buss died, which she said helps inspire her as a high-powered woman in the NBA.

Buss said Bryant brought Gianna with her to a lunch, and said it was „to show her that women can be leaders in the NBA, just like the men.“

However, she said, she believes Bryant also wanted to inspire her.

Kobe Bryant Jerry Buss LA Lakers MVP 2008

Foto: Kobe Bryant with LA Lakers owner Jerry Buss in 2008 after receiving an MVP award.sourceRic Francis/AP

„I am positively sure you knew EXACTLY what you were doing,“ she wrote. „What you did was give me the inspiration and strength I was searching for. I reflect on that day often and it makes me smile and it makes me strong.

„I call on that memory whenever I feel down and need a bit of courage. For everything you did on the court that filled me with so much joy and love, for all the lives you changed through basketball itself, it was that day with Gigi that reignited my drive and determination.“

The Lakers postponed a game with the LA Clippers which had been meant to take place on Tuesday, as a mark of respect for Bryant.

The new date has yet to be announced.

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