Geno Auriemma Speaks at A Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant
here today to speak on his friendship with both of them is the 11th I'm n-c-double-a championship coach of the Huskies
Auriemmathere's some amazing women in this room right there and you just heard from three of them I'm
Auriemmaand I'm the coach of the UConn women's basketball program and a lot of people are going to talk about basketball today and I don't know that that's why I'm here I'm not here for the basketball part I tried the right of long flowing speech about basketball and I can't do it there's too many thoughts in my head ever since Vanessa asked me to speak too many things that made me realize more that I'm here as a father not as a basketball coach and us Italians as these just showed you were very we're very very emotional people right Mike he's half Italian so the thoughts that I started to have after I was asked to speak we're obviously about all the people that were on board and if you're a father a grandfather you feel a different a different kind of emotion when there's children involved because this is always about the children we've lived our lives we have a little bit left they're just starting their lives and then my next thought came to the original team that
Kobewas responsible for Natalya Bianca Capri Vanessa because we're always teammates you know we're always on a team sometimes it's a big team sometimes it's a small team and that's the...
most important team and Coby and I shared some history he started in Italy went to Philadelphia and then went to the limelight and the lights and glamour of LA I went to Philadelphia went to Philly and went to the cows up in stores that was a joke because there's no lights and there's no glitz and glamour and stores Connecticut and how ironic that he would talk to me about coaching the young coachable one wants to talk about coaching probably the most uncoachable player in the NBA during his career wants to know about coaching and I wanted to know why he said I'm coaching my daughter's team I said oh my god that poor kid so when I watched highlights of her playing and on about the third or fourth times she touched the ball
Giannapassed it when she was open I thought she's not listening to her father so he would call and say what kind of defensive drills should I do we have practice and I were gonna work on defense what he thinks the most important thing in teaching man the man further proof he never listened to one word any of his coaches told him so I tried to explain them I say
Kobethey're 13 years old I think you ought to just say hey you know and see the kid with the ball try not to let her go by you and see if you're guarding the other guys hate see that kid with the ball over there don't let her throw the ball to your guy keep it kind of simple you know he said no I want to know like what are the rotations when they drive but I said...
come on come on come on so these are the conversations that we have both as basketball people and as dads who have ever coached their kids if you've ever been in that situation like a lot of people here in this room probably have been and I remember when GG came as you saw in that video she came to a very for the very first game that she came to and she came into the locker room and here she is and the look on her face the smile the way her eyes just took everything in how excited she was to be around in her mind royalty Saronic her father's royalty and she's excited to be around royalty that looks just like what she wants to be and the most impressive thing about that point in time was how
Kobestepped as far back as he could so anyone taking pictures anyone there would not know this was
Bryant's daughter this was her moment this is where hurt hurt time to shine this was her time to experience all the things that he's experienced his whole
lifehe was being dad he wasn't being
Bryantand he was allowing Gigi to be Gigi not
Bryant's daughter in today's day and age that's a hell of a thing for parents to be able to do I'm gonna leave you with just two things we got a letter oh I got to tell you about you didn't see it but she did meet the Oregon Ducks women's basketball team and they all gathered around and said you want to take your picture and everybody ran over and GG goes now I'm good she knew what her...
heart was and you know that little sarcasm good and when they came to when they came to UConn and they sat behind the bench and there's dad bringing his daughter to a game and they have their shirts on and she's got this coat on and she has her hat on and she's just a little kid at a game and again I felt more like a dad than I felt as a basketball coach because I've done that with my kids and lastly number 24 number 8 and number 2 those are basketball numbers those are numbers in the past those are numbers that we're not going to get back what we do have is today how many numbers of kids like Dianna have been inspired to do more to work harder to strive for more and the numbers we also don't have it's how many numbers of kids in the future how many women are going to be inspired by Gigi's