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I had no plans to write about Kobe Bryant this week. I don’t follow the NBA much any more. He is not my favorite player. Even though we are almost the same age, I really didn’t know much about Kobe outside of basketball.

As I randomly checked in on Twitter or my Bleacher Report app on Sunday, I was amazed at how many of the memories and quotes people were sharing were about him being a father.  In all honesty, I only learned on Sunday that Kobe was a father of three girls.

The best part of these memories of Kobe as a great father is they had nothing to do with his fame or fortune. He simply loved being a father. He loved sharing time with his kids and being involved in their lives. He loved doing the same things every father in the world has the same opportunity to do because they all cost nothing.

My goal in life is to raise my daughters to be strong and independent women. My newsletter is called Raising Strong Girls.

Adam Grant tweeted:
I talked with @kobebryant in 2016. He said his new mission was to help people reach their full potential.
-To tell stories that inspire kids to dream
-To raise strong, independent women
-To teach the next generation that a great team is worth more than individual wins

How in the heck did I not know one of the biggest sports icons of my generation was passionate about the same thing?

I am sad I did not know this sooner, but I am happy I know it now. Kobe left some great examples and words of wisdom that can help us all be better fathers to our daughters.

Brandon Walker tweeted:
In the last year or two, I’ve noticed every time you saw Kobe, he had his little girl with him. Teaching her, leading her. Forget about the player he was, that’s the kind of dad I want to be.

That’s the kind of dad I want to be too, Brandon.

Not only was Kobe a champion for his daughters, he became a champion for women’s sports all together.

Rebecca Lobo tweeted:
No @NBA player supported the @WNBA  or women’s college basketball more than Kobe. He attended games, watched on tv, coached the next generation. We pray for his family.

He used his platform to grow something his daughters were passionate about. In a selfish, look at me world, he clearly wanted his legacy to be as much about his daughters as it was about him.

One of my favorite stories is one I came across on Tuesday. @elleduncanESPN shared her memory of meeting Kobe only one time and the impact he made on her as a father of three girls.

Duncan was pregnant with a girl of her own when she met Kobe. He told her, “Girls are the best” and “Just be grateful that you’ve been given that gift because girls are amazing.”

Kobe finished the conversation with a simple but powerful, “I’m a girl dad.”

So am I! 

My favorite posts of the weekend was a replay of Kobe’s speech when the Lakers retired his number (both of them).  He ended his speech talking to his daughters.

“You know if you do the work, if you work hard enough dreams come true. Hopefully what you get from tonight is the understanding that those times you get up early and you work hard, those times when you stay up late and you work hard, those times when you don’t feel like working, when you’re too tired and you don’t want to push yourself but you do it anyway, that is actually the dream. That’s the dream. It’s not the destination, it is the journey. If you guys can see that, what you will see happen is you won’t accomplish your dreams, your dreams won’t come true. Something greater will.”

Wow, what a powerful message. Most people believe telling your kids they won’t accomplish their dreams is defeating. Kobe told his daughters not to defeat them, but to inspire them to be greater than their dreams.

I am sad for the loved ones Kobe left behind. They have a hole that can never be filled, but my hope is positives will continue to come out of this tragedy. I have heard more talk about being a #girldad in the last two days than I have in the last 20 years.

These stories and all the ones shared since this tragic event on Sunday, reinforce why I am so passionate about helping all girl dads be the best we can be. Kobe made it cool to be a #girldad. I hope this is not a trend that will fade quickly. I hope being a #girldad stays cool for a long time to come and that fathers like me can continue to raise our daughters to be strong, independent women. Thank you Kobe and Godspeed!

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