High school players pause to honor Bryant, a champion of women's hoops

Justin Udo
January 29, 2020 - 9:00 am

LOWER MERION, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Before the Lower Merion and Upper Darby girls basketball teams took the floor at Kobe Bryant Gymnasium on Tuesday night, both squads paused for a 33-second moment of silence to honor the NBA star who wore that number when he played for Lower Merion.

Bryant and his daughter Gianna were killed with seven others in a helicopter crash on Sunday in Southern California.

"He was like our basketball god. Everybody mirrored their game after him. Everybody mimicked their mannerisms off of him, their mentality," said Alysha Womack before the game, stopping at Bryant's makeshift memorial, just outside the front doors of the gym.

The former Cardinal O'Hara High School hooper, who went on to play at Monmouth University and then overseas for a number of years, said Bryant's work with women's sports was an inspiration and will not be soon forgotten. 

"I feel like he was just getting started, really, with helping women's basketball be more popular," Womack said. "Even though we feel that it was too soon, all the girls coming up who were supposed to see it saw it, and they'll be changed forever because of that."

The Lower Merion girls also wore a black band on their jerseys in remembrance of Bryant and his daughter.