Kobe Bryant and his 12-year-old daughter Gianna are both big fans of UConn's women's basketball program. Gianna has been especially fond of the team and hopes to play for the Huskies eventually, and it's the people involved that have drawn her to the program.
"I think the players, first and foremost. The camaraderie that they have with each other is something she kind of gravitated to," Kobe told SNY's Justine Ward at Saturday's game in Storrs. "And then Geno (Auriemma) and (Chris Dailey) and their leadership and the culture of the program, all the way on down to Rebecca (Lobo) and Diana (Taurasi) and Sue (Bird), so she loves the program."
The discipline that UConn's teams have always played with is something that stands out to Bryant.
"They play a game that's played together," he said. "Individually they all have brilliant things that they do, but they sacrifice that individual brilliance for a team effort - how they move the ball, how they move off the ball, how they screen for each other, defensively how they scheme well together. Those are things that's a lost art, and to be honest with you it's a lost art in the NBA game."
The key to the long-term success Auriemma and Dailey have had with the Huskies program, the kind Bryant had with the Lakers, is consistency, according to Bryant.
"It's just good old fashion do the work every single day," he said. "Days you don't feel like doing it, you show up and you do it. And when you do that every day for a long period of time, you wind up having a success that goes on for quite a few years."