Mamba mentality is not just a cool saying, it’s definitely a lifestyle. Just hours after speaking at her mentor, Kobe Bryant’s celebration of life service, Oregon Ducks’ standout, and Bryant’s mentee, Sabrina Ionescu made history.
Kobe and Gigi are definitely looking down from the heavens, arms folded, and both are saying you’re welcome after witnessing Ionescu’s performance last night (Feb.24). The Ducks’ point guard accomplished something no man nor female has ever done in college basketball history by reaching the 2,000 points, 1,000 assists, and 1,000 rebounds milestone in her collegiate career.
Oh, and the Ducks won the game beating Stanford 74-66, the perfect exclamation point on the night.
Following the game, Ionescu spoke with ESPN and immediately pointed out that her performance was in honor of Bryant.
“That one was for him. To do it on 2-24-20 is huge. We talked about it in the pre-season. I can’t really put it into words. He’s looking down and really proud of me and just really happy for this moment with my team.”
Ionescu’s performance came on the heels of her amazing speech at Kobe’s and Gigi’s memorial service, where she spoke about the time she met both Bryant and his daughter Gigi.
“He congratulated us on the win that day and our season up to that point but said —and I’ll never forget — ‘Don’t shoot yourselves in the foot. He meant don’t settle, keep grinding, control what you can. The national championship wasn’t far and our goal was to win it all.”
She further added:
“If I represented the present of the women’s game, Gigi was the future and Kobe knew it, so we decided to build a future together.”
“His vision for me was way bigger than my own,” she continued of her mentor. “More importantly, he didn’t just show up in my life and leave. He stayed. He was giving me the blueprint. He was giving Gigi the same blueprint. He united us.”
Ionescu was one of many greats who gave speeches that tugged at the heartstrings at the memorial. Bryant’s wife Vanessa, his mentor, Michael Jordan, agent and Lakers general manager, Rob Pelinka, WNBA star, Diana Taurasi, Huskies coach, Geno Auriemma and former teammate, Shaquille O’Neal spoke about Bryant’s impact on their lives.
Mamba mentality definitely lives on, congratulations Sabrina Ionescu.
Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty