Kobe Bryant was never afraid of speaking his mind when he was a player. Now that he’s retired, things have continued the same way. The Los Angeles Lakers legend is not a stranger making bold claims and this time he took things to a different level.
Diana Taurasi once called it a “long shot” that she or any other woman could play in the NBA. However, Kobe is one former player that believes the guard and many other women can do good in the association.
In a recent interview with CNN, Bryant was asked about the prospect of a woman one day making it to the NBA.
“I think there are a couple of players who could play in the NBA right now, honestly,” Bryant said without hesitation. “There’s a lot of players that have a lot of skill that could do it.”
Kobe named three players, Taurasi, Maya Moore, and Elena Delle Donne, the best of the best in the WNBA. Between the three of them, those players have won eight WNBA championships and earned four league MVP awards.
Back in 2011, in an interview with ESPN, Taurasi stated she didn’t think women could compete with men simply from a physical standpoint.
“If you could put me in a machine that could make me 6 foot 5 and as strong as they were, I could play in the NBA,” Taurasi said. “When you talk about how physically superior they are. ... I can’t help it.
“Skill-wise, knowing the game, there’s no difference between men and women ... [but] it would be really hard. It’s a long shot.”
Yet, for Kobe, things aren’t like that.
“They could most certainly keep up,” he told CNN.
Perhaps it won't be hard seeing a woman playing in the NBA in the future, more so knowing the type of commissioner Adam Silver is and how he’s always trying to bring new things to the table.
Who knows, maybe in a couple of years we can see Taurasi going against Russell Westbrook or Stephen Curry, or Delle Donne throwing it down over DeMarcus Cousins or Nikola Jokic.