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Phoenix Mercury

Kobe Bryant and Rising Basketball Star Daughter, Gigi, Perish in Helicopter Crash

Gianna and Kobe Bryant Collage Bellyitchblog.com
Gianna and Kobe Bryant Collage Bellyitchblog.com

Photos: Vanessa Bryant’s Instagram, Getty

Sad news about the family of Vanessa Bryant covered plenty in this blog over the past 10 years: her husband, legendary NBA player Kobe Bryant and their 13 year old daughter Gianna “Gigi” Marie-Onore died along with the pilot of a helicopter they were traveling in this morning and reportedly, another parent Orange  and young player, on their way to a tournament in Thousand Oaks, California.

Our thoughts are with Vanessa and their other three surviving daughters 17-year old Natalia, 3-year old Bianka and 7-month old Capri, and the friends and family of all who perished.

While Kobe was known for being a 20-year vet, the third highest scoring player in NBA history, a 5-time NBA champ, MVP Award winner and 18-times All-Star player, Gigi was coming into her own in the sport.

At just 13-years old, she stood pretty tall at 5 feet 10 inches and playe for an AAU team, the  Los Angeles Lady Mamba girls basketball team, which Kobe coached.

Before her untimely death, Gigi  dreamed of one day playing for legendary coach Geno Auriemma at Connecticut and to eventually join the WNBA.

According to a recent Los Angeles Times report, Kobe recently took her to see Los Angeles Sparks ,Phoenix Mercury, and Las Vegas Aces games.

Mom was also a fan, naturally, of her budding basketball star daughter and her personal Instagram feed featured lots of photos and videos of Gigi at play.

vanessa bryant inst of gigi

credit: Vanessa Bryant

A video posted by Baller TV via ESPN showed Gianna knocking down a stepback jumper during an AAU game with her club team which drew comparison to her dad, also her trainer and coach, obviously.

 

Kobe admitted that since retiring in 2016, he only re-started watching basketball because of Gigi’s love of the sport.

“Before Gigi got into basketball I hardly watched it, but now that’s she’s into basketball, we watch every night,” Kobe told former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the Showtime Basketball podcast All the Smoke.

Since his Jersey was retired in 2017, he had not been seen courtside at a Lakers game until recently with his daughter.

“We just had so much fun because it was the first time I was seeing the game through her eyes,” the five-time NBA champion said of sharing the experience with his daughter.

“It wasn’t me sitting there, you know, as an athlete or a player or something like that, and you know it’s like about me, and I don’t like that,” he added. “It was her, she was having such a good time.”

RIP to both. What a tragic loss for the sports world and the family.

Brittney Griner’s Ex & Mom to Couple’s Twin Girls, Glory Johnson is back to Dating Men

glory

We spent a lot of time following the rocky relationship of WNBA‘s Brittney  Griner and ex-wife Glory Johnson. The two got engaged within weeks of having a domestic dispute last April then married a month later. Johnson, got pregnant with twins via artificial insemination only for Griner to file for an annulment before the marriage was even a month old.

Johnson welcomed twin girls Ava Simone and Solei Diem last October, 2015, but Griner denied being their parent.

The Dallas Wings Forward fought back against the Phoenix Mercury star’s claims that she knew nothing about the plans to conceive children. Johnson and won a child support case earlier this year, and Griner was ordered to pay her $40,000 annually.

After all that highly public split, Johnson has moved on and is back to dating men again. Phew!!

She is in a happy relationship with with 30-year-old Christopher Fry, who lives in Seymour, Tennessee – a short distance from her family home in Knoxville, New York Post reports. 

Recall in her petition for an annulment last year, Griner claimed Johnson was cheating on her with man. Hmmm. She probably was on to something back then. doh!

photo collage: Getty/Instagram/NY Post

Split Already: Brittney Griner files for annulment, disclaims Johnson’s pregnancy

 

brittney griner

No, this is not a storyline from the Young and the Restless but could be.

In one week, it was reported widely among the general public that WNBA players Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson had gotten into a violent domestic altercation in April that landed them both in jail, but that the couple married the following month and announced only this week that the two were expecting their first child as a couple.

Before the week was officially over, news came out that Griner filed  for an annulment from her marriage to Johnson.

TMZ  revealed on Friday court documentation Griner filed where she cites that the marriage was based on “fraud and duress.”

The Phoenix Mercury  player  also stated in the court papers that she has “no biological connection” to Johnson’s baby and is unaware of the circumstances behind Johnson’s pregnancy.

us weekly photo

It’s confusing because only the day before Johnson posted on her Instagram account a photo of Griner caressing her pregnant bump. She captioned the photo:

“One day until I’m reunited with my Wife @brittneygriner, This is about to be one CRAZY SUMMER!!! #TooExcited #NewLife #NewAdditionToTheFamily.”

Johnson’s rep issued to TMZ this response to news of Griner’s annulment request:

Glory wouldn’t intentionally do anything to hurt Brittney and has tried her best to protect her and their marriage. Obviously this marriage was about them starting their life together. Glory is the sweetest thing in the world and she was dedicated to their partnership. She knows how important marriage is and made a lifetime’s commitment and decision to spend the rest of her life with Brittney.

What a Roller coaster!

Recall during the debate over the re authorization of the Violence Against Women Act  in Congress a few years back, several groups came forward to fight for the inclusion of women in same-sex relationships to ensure they are also protected.  Apparently, there is a high rate of underreported violence in lesbian relationships, as written about in The Atlantic.

We hope for the baby’s sake that all the conflicts will be resolved before he or she is born.

photo: Getty, collage US Weekly

Androgynous Maternity as rocked by Ciara, Beyonce & Kim Kardashian

When Ciara showed up to the 2014 MusicCares Gala in a navy Lanvin mens style pinstripe suit, many scrubbed their chins, cocked their heads and went, “hmmmm.”   Not all were convinced at how fashion forward the look was for maternity wear.

Little did they know she was only channeling the spirit of her fore-mothers who rocked Androgynous maternity before her.

Behold:

Ciara has been wearing androgynous looks this pregnancy like Beyonce & Kim Kardashian did before her.

Meanwhile, the first openly gay woman athlete to sign a Nike modeling contract, WNBA player Brittney Griner was signed to model men’s apparel.
And as an ESPN.com story about the deal noted: 

Androgynous models are coveted in high-end fashion, but the trend toward gender-neutral clothing has only just begun to reach the sports world, with NBA stars Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade blurring the lines in their tight jeans and fitted sweaters. No sports apparel company has taken it a step further and expressly targeted the gender-fluid crowd — and whether Nike is willing to ride the edge with Griner remains to be seen. “We can’t get into specifics,” says Nike spokesman Brian Strong, “but it’s safe to say we jumped at the opportunity to work with her because she breaks the mold.

The former Baylor women’s player and current Phoenix Mercury star won the ESPY award for best female athlete in 2011 and rocked the red carpet in men’s wear the following two years.

The era of androgyny has been a thing for a while now, but is mos def an “in” thing again.

h/t

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 The Fashion Culturalist