NBA star Pau Gasol and his wife, Catherine McDonnell, have named their newborn baby after Kobe Bryant's late 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, the player tweeted Sunday. The Los Angeles Lakers legend, his daughter and seven others were killed in January in a helicopter crash in California.
Gasol won two championships with Bryant during their time together with the Lakers and were close friends. Gasol, 40, announced on social media that his family was honoring the memory of Gianna by naming their daughter Elisabet Gianna Gasol.
"Our little one has finally arrived!! The delivery went really well and we couldn't be happier!! Elisabet Gianna Gasol, a very meaningful name for our super beautiful daughter!!" he said on Twitter.
Our little one has finally arrived!! The delivery went really well and we couldn’t be happier!! Elisabet Gianna Gasol 😍, a very meaningful name for our super beautiful daughter!! ❤️👨👩👧 #girldad pic.twitter.com/rmXWk0BTFz
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) September 13, 2020
Vanessa Bryant posted on her private Instagram account that she will be the godmother of the child.
"So touched by your request to honor my Gigi," she wrote. "Can't wait to hold Elisabeth Gianna Gasol."
Vanessa Bryant shared that she is the godmother to the Gasol’s newborn child 💛💜 pic.twitter.com/MzbfKpZBzU
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 13, 2020
Gasol, who most recently played with the Portland Trail Blazers, has been open about his relationship with Bryant and his family. Vanessa Bryant and her daughters vacationed with Gasol and his wife last month.
"My wife, my future baby, my sister and my nieces. So much beauty in one picture," he wrote as a caption for the photo.
In August, the Players' Tribune compiled a collection of stories from Bryant's former teammates and players who faced him. Among them, Gasol talked about the impact the 5-time NBA champion had on him.
"I don't believe that Kobe ever took a break," he wrote. "It was championship mode, pure and simple. The six and a half years I played with Kobe were my best basketball years. I learned the most about my game, and a big reason was number 24."