2020 hasn’t been the easiest year for Sabrina Ionescu, yet the Oregon product has plenty to look forward to on the horizon.
Though projected to be selected first overall in the 2020 WNBA Draft, Ionescu has faced plenty of trials and tribulations in the last three months alone. On top of having the NCAA Tournament canceled during her senior year with the Ducks, Ionescu lost one of her idols, Kobe Bryant, in January.
Ionescu trained plenty with Bryant, who served as both a mentor and a friend to the young basketball star, in the years prior to his sudden death. The 22-year-old said speaking at Bryant’s memorial was “humbling and honoring,” though it was difficult for her to play the sport she loves in the days following.
That said, Bryant still remains a part of Ionescu’s every-day life.
“I mean, I hear him every day. I talk to him every day. I hear his laugh. I hear his everything in my dreams,” Ionescu told Ros Gold-Onwude of “The Breakdown.” “He’s still alive and very well with me and in my head and heart at all times. And so, it’s been pretty cool to see the impact that he’s had on me and really just understanding that you have to appreciate what you have when you have it and not letting that distract you.”
But Ionescu isn’t just planning on dedicating just her rookie season in the WNBA (whenever that might be) to the late Los Angeles Lakers legend. She wants to dedicate her entire career to him.
“I mean, the impact that he had on me and kind of how he was mentoring me not only thought basketball but through life in general and having that friendship is (worth) more than just a season or it’s more than just basketball. So I think I would say obviously that season I was excited just because of the goals that we had. … He was almost certain that we were going to be able to win it this year because he’d watched us for the last two years and so that’s all that he was telling me was there’s no way we’re not win it this year.
“And so I think in that aspect, I think if we would win it, it would kind of just be the cherry on top to everything we just talked about. But in reality, it’s going to be for the rest of my playing days and even after that.”
You can check out the full video below:
We can’t wait to see what this girl brings to the WNBA — and beyond.