The New York Liberty rookie captured the hearts of basketball fans everywhere by starring in a lively TikTok alongside Kobe Bryant’s daughters.
It takes a lot to shake the poise of Sabrina Ionescu. Such an endeavor, however, was all too easy for Bianka Bryant.
Ionescu’s summer plans to draw on-court awe and amazement from New York Liberty fans have been put on hold, but she’s still creating a highlight reel through the TikTok platform. Her latest venture is a dance-off with Natalia Bryant, the 17-year-old daughter of the late Kobe.
As the two dance in synchronization to “Party Girl” by StaySolidRocky, they’re suddenly interrupted by three-year-old Bianka, who offers her own talents to the proceedings and effectively forces both her older sister and Ionescu out of the picture.
The relationship between Ionescu and Kobe Bryant was well-documented, as the NBA legend was a friend and mentor to the Oregon alumna. That connection extended to Bryant’s family (including his wife Vanessa), as Ionescu herself became something of a mentor to Bryant’s second daughter Gianna, nicknamed Gigi. Kobe and Gigi tragically passed, along with seven others, in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California in January.
Shortly before Ionescu was named the top overall pick by the Liberty in the 2020 WNBA Draft, the league honored Gigi, as well as fellow young basketball stars Payton Chester and Alyssa Altobelli, who likewise passed away in the Calabasas tragedy.
As the WNBA continues to search for a way to stage the 2020 season, Ionescu has remained active on social media. Her dance-off with the Bryants is far from her first TikTok foray, as she previously appeared in several other short videos alongside her younger cousin Sofie. Ionescu has also commented on the country’s current events, voicing her support for the demonstrations against police brutality towards African-Americans.
She will additionally give the keynote speech at Oregon’s virtual commencement ceremonies later this month.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags