Like everyone else, I was shocked to hear the news of Kobe Bryant’s death last week along with his daughter, her teammates and their parents, her coach, and the pilot.
I didn’t know Kobe, but it’s tragic and sad and I am so sorry for all the families.
Out of all the tributes that started to flood the airwaves, one in particular caught my attention as well as the attention of many, many others.
On Wednesday, I noticed that the hashtag #GirlDad started trending on Twitter, after ESPN’s Elle Duncan shared a tribute to the fallen basketball star.
She had met him when she was 8 months pregnant with a girl and Kobe, himself the father of three girls at the time, had gushed about how amazing it was to be a girl dad.
Suddenly I felt a very small, but significant connection to Kobe Bryant.
You see, I am the middle of three girls born to a professional athlete.
My father, Tom Mack, played 13 seasons for the Los Angeles Rams and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
My father, a professional athlete, is a #girldad. And a great one, too! He never, ever made me or my sisters feel like we were less than because we were girls.
He assured us he wanted girls, that he loved his daughters.
This was extremely important for me to hear growing up as the daughter of a professional athlete. Trust me, I would be filthy rich if I had a dollar for every time someone (always a man) asked me, “Do you have any brothers?”
Also trust me when I say I could be in jail for a long time if I acted the way I wanted to act every time someone (always a man) followed up with, “Didn’t your father want boys?”
So, thank you Kobe, and thank you, Dad, for being a girl dad and being the kind of fathers who make daughters feel valuable and loved.
Here is a sweet chain on Twitter to check out filled with dads sharing their #girldad love:
I’m so moved by the outpouring of support behind my story about Kobe. And I love that #girldad is trending.. so for all those proud fathers who still have their girls to love on can you flood my timeline with pics of you and your flock. Honestly I need it as much as anyone rt now— Elle Duncan (@elleduncanESPN) January 28, 2020