McNabb: Kobe Was Top-10 Player, Top-Five Dad

Kobe Bryant was really good at basketball, Donovan McNabb says, but that's only a small part of who he was

Zach Gelb
February 05, 2020 - 7:56 pm
Kobe Bryant Gianna

USA Today Images


Donovan McNabb and Kobe Bryant were friends. They talked, they golfed together, and their daughters knew each other.

And while Bryant will go down as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, McNabb believes Bryant was just as good, if not better, as a father.

“I know we’ll glorify his basketball career and the things that he’s done and he’s touched so many lives from a basketball standpoint,” McNabb said on The Zach Gelb Show. “But the focus needs to be on he was a father to his kids and the relationship that he built, not just with his daughters, but other people’s daughters. He was coaching a team with 12- and 13-year-olds that are playing 15U on a national circuit, and to provide that confidence for them that they can compete, teaching them the game, [was incredible].”

Bryant would often talk to his daughter, Gianna, during basketball games. They would diagnose plays together, as Bryant wanted Gianna to see what he saw. McNabb said Gianna was “all-in” on those conversations.

But that was Bryant: he attacked fatherhood the same way he attacked basketball.

“The Mamba mentality is no longer a logo or term,” McNabb said. “The Mamba mentality is an attitude, a lifestyle that people did not want to embrace while Kobe was doing it. . . . Here’s a guy who just wanted to win. He didn’t want to party. He wanted to do whatever it took to win.”

Many athletes struggle to find purpose in retirement. Bryant didn’t.

“He was prepared for fatherhood,” McNabb said. “We never talked sports. We always talked about life. We talked about our kids. We talked about family. I think that’s something that gets overlooked. Kobe Bryant is a top-10 ever player. But he’s also a top-five dad.”