Kobe and Gianna Bryant eerily predicted Lakers championship in 2020
Kobe and Gianna Bryant were tragically unable to witness the 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers win the franchise’s 17th championship, but both basketball stars may have foreseen it.
During an appearance on ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski’s “The Woj Pod,” Lakers executive vice president and general manger Rob Pelinka—who was one of Kobe’s closest friends, former agent, and godfather to Gianna—shared an anecdote about the father and daughter’s spot-on prediction of the Lakers’ title.
“I remember Gigi looked at me and she said ‘Uncle Rob,’ — She calls me Uncle P because of my last name — she says ‘Uncle P, I’m watching this game, and I’m looking around … You guys are going to win the title this year,’” Pelinka recounted to Wojnarowski, via SB Nation’s Silver Screen & Roll.
But Gianna wasn’t just pulling for her dad’s former team. In typical Bryant fashion, her prediction was based on advanced basketball analysis.
“I said ‘Gigi, why do you think that?’ She goes ‘your defensive size and length and athleticism. In the playoffs, it’s tough to make threes, and the rim gets smaller and guys feel the pressure, and just your size, and ability to cover space and take away the rim… teams aren’t going to be able to score on you. You guys are going to win the championship.’”
Gianna’s hoops breakdown not only eerily resembled how her father talked about the game (especially playoff basketball), it was then validated by the Lakers’ performance in the Orlando bubble.
“That’s kind of exactly what happened.” Pelinka noted. “If you think about Game 6, Miami just couldn’t score in the first half, and our defense is what carried us.”
Pelinka also revealed the encouragement Kobe gave him before he accepted the daunting challenge of running the storied franchise.
“I remember him looking me in the eye and saying ‘Hey, I know how you work. I know how locked in you are. I know you’re a chess player. I think you’ll have the Lakers back winning a championship in two to three years,’ Pelinka recalled Bryant telling him.
“I said ‘you’ve got to be crazy.’ We have no cap room, we had just signed a couple free agents — the previous front office — and we didn’t have any cap room … I looked at him like ‘you’re crazy, but I’ll put in the work to do it.’”
The Lakers captured their first title in 10 years and their first championship since Kobe Bryant helped the franchise win five rings in his long tenure in purple and gold.