Oregon State

Former Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu spends night in with Kobe Bryant’s family

Oregon State

Sabrina Ionescu is keeping great company while rehabbing her ankle injury.

The New York Liberty No. 1 pick and Oregon superstar shared a photo to her Instagram Story on Wednesday night while enjoying a movie night with Kobe Bryant’s family.

The photo shows Sabrina holding Kobe’s daughter, 3-year-old Bianka, while sitting alongside 17-year-old Natalia and Bryant’s wife, Vanessa. It’s captioned “Good day. 19.08.2010,” and “Movie night.”

Sabrina Ionescu

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

Ionescu has been close with the Bryant family for some time. Before Kobe and his daughter Gianna, along with seven others, were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in January, the NCAA triple-double queen called Kobe her mentor. 

Ionescu often trained with Kobe and Gianna, and the Bryant duo attended several Oregon women’s games in Southern California. Bryant also visited with the Oregon men’s team when they made it to the 2017 Final Four.

Ionescu delivered a moving tribute to Kobe and Gigi at their memorial service in February.

“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,” she said. “I wanted to be a part of the generation that changed basketball for Gigi and her teammates. Where being born female didn’t mean being born behind, where greatness wasn’t divided by gender.”


Now a member of the New York Liberty, Ionescu pledged to live out Kobe’s legacy. The 22-year-old was just finding her groove in the WNBA after averaging 18 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists before suffering a Grade 3 ankle sprain vs. the Atlanta Dream on July 31. 

Now, she’s giving both her ankle (and heart) some TLC with her Mambacitas by her side. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin' Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent].