PORTLAND, Ore — Nearly a week following the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash, Oregon Ducks All-American guard Sabrina Ionescu posted a heartfelt message on her Instagram.
Bryant was a friend, mentor and idol to Ionescu. The two developed a relationship over the last few years, which included Bryant attending a couple Oregon games in California. Bryant also analyzed Ionescu’s game on his ESPN+ show, which Ionescu talked about in her letter announcing her return to Eugene for her senior season.
In the Instagram post, Ionescu posted several photos of her with Kobe, Gianna and Gianna’s teammates. She wrote:
I miss you guys more than I could ever put into words.
Kobe, thank you for being a source of light in the midst of darkness. You were and always will be my sanctuary. You brought me the peace and guidance that I had been searching, and praying so long for. You were my mentor, idol, inspiration, and close friend. A part of me was lost Sunday, a void that can never be filled, because you are one of one. You took me under your wing and believed in me more than I believed in myself. I only have one choice. To live out your legacy. You will forever live through me, and be watching over me every step of the way, because you have the best seat in the house. I can still hear you telling me, “Sab, real sharpness comes without effort,” and that’s a voice I will never forget. Love you boss. Always.
Gigi, Alyssa and Pay Pay-
Never stop shining your light! I was blessed to have been apart of your lives and to inspire you, but now you inspire me. Keep working on those fade away jumpers up in heaven. RIP little mambas
I pray for everyone who lost a loved one on Sunday, may God heal your broken hearts. Legends never die! #mambamentality
On the day of the crash, Ionescu said she was going to dedicate this season to Kobe.