UConn Legends Salute Kobe & Gianna Bryant

By 1080 WTIC NEWSTALK

Diana Taurasi and Geno Auriemma, two builders of UConn's world-renowned women's program, were among the many basketball legends at Monday's sold-out memorial for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant.

The father and daughter died last month in a high-speed helicopter crash that also killed seven others.

Former Huskies star and WNBA all-time leading scorer Diana Taurasi, a Los Angeles-area native, talked about 13 year old Gigi's desire to follow Taurasi's path: Southern California high school star... UConn... pro basketball.

"Gigi, in many ways, represents the future of women's basketball: a future where a young woman aspires to play in the WNBA the same way I wanted to be a Laker," said Taurasi.

UConn Head Coach Auriemma had been hoping to welcome the younger Bryant at UConn. He says Kobe called him for advice on coaching Gigi's youth team.

He even reviewed video of the girl's play and joked, "On about the third or fourth time she touched the ball, Gianna passed it when she was open. I thought, she's not listening to her father."

Taurasi and Auriemma were part of a rare A-list gathering of basketball's greatest, worthy of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA, where Kobe Bryant will be posthumously inducted this summer.

Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and current stars Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook were among those in attendance.