We know that in sports, teammates form special bonds of friendship with each other, but Spanish basketball pro Pau Gasol has surprised us with a huge gesture of closeness to his late teammate Kobe Bryant. Over the weekend Gasol and wife Cat McDonnell announced that they’d welcomed a baby girl, named Elisabet Gianna Gasol, named partly after Bryant’s late daughter Gianna.
“Our little one has finally arrived!!” Gasol wrote on Instagram, sharing pics of his daughter and wife at the hospital. “The delivery went really well and we couldn’t be happier!! Elisabet Gianna Gasol 😍, a very meaningful name for our super beautiful daughter!! ❤️👨👩👧 #girldad”
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Nuestra pequeña ya está con nosotros! Todo ha ido muy bien y no podemos estar más felices!! Elisabet Gianna Gasol 😍, un nombre con mucho significado para nuestra preciosa hija!! ❤️👨👩👧 #Padredeniña Our little one has finally arrived!! The delivery went really well and we couldn’t be happier!! Elisabet Gianna Gasol 😍, a very meaningful name for our super beautiful daughter!! ❤️👨👩👧 #girldad
This doesn’t appear to be an honor bestowed to the little girl out of the blue. Gasol and Bryant were good friends, and following January’s tragic accident, he and McDonnell have remained close to widow Vanessa Bryant and her three surviving daughters, to whom they refer in social media as their nieces.
“My goddaughter is here!!!!” Vanessa wrote in a post on her private Instagram, according to Today. “Congratulations @paugasol @catmcdonnell7 Love you 3 so much! So touched by your request to honor my Gigi. Can’t wait to hold Elisabet Gianna Gasol.”
According to McDonnell, her first name is in honor of another family member.
“She made a quick and easy entrance on a VERY special day, her great-grandmother Elizabeth’s 100th birthday and her mom and dad’s 2nd engagement anniversary,” the new mom wrote on Instagram.
Though Ellie Gianna may be named after a family friend, the experts at BabyNames.com think she’s not going to be the first or only baby whose name honors the late Lakers star and his 13-year-old daughter.
“Gianna’s going to jump up even more because of Gianna Bryant,” Mallory Moss, the site’s cofounder said on The Baby Names Podcast last week, after the announcement of the top baby names of 2019 list, in which Gianna currently ranks number 78. “I think we’ll see an increase in Kobes.”
Gianna is also part of a trend unrelated to the tragedy.
“Mateo at 26 is signaling a new trend of Italian/Latinx names, like Luna, Gianna, Giovanni, Lorenzo and Enzo,” BabyNames.com cofounder Jennifer Moss told SheKnows last week. “I predict that will be more prevalent in the next one to three years.”
Here are some other famous offspring whose names you may want to borrow.