2024 Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award

2024 Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award

Student and teacher at computer

Basketball legend Ann Meyers Drysdale has been recognized for her lifelong dedication to promoting girls’ and women’s basketball. She received the 2024 Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award, an honor that recognizes individuals who significantly contribute to the growth of women’s basketball.

Annie’s Journey

Drysdale’s journey is remarkable. She shattered boundaries throughout her career. In 1979, she became the first woman to ever sign an NBA contract, though she ultimately didn’t play in a regular-season game. This pioneering move paved the way for future generations of female athletes.

Her achievements extend beyond breaking barriers. Drysdale was a star athlete at UCLA, where she excelled in multiple sports. She later became a successful president and general manager for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and a vice president for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Annie is currently a VP for the Phoenix Mercury and a color analyst for the Phoenix Suns television broadcasts. The Phoenix Mercury have won three WNBA championships under her leadership.

Ann Myers Drysdale

Drysdale’s Passion

Drysdale’s passion for basketball extends far beyond the court. She actively supports young girls who dream of playing the game. This aligns perfectly with the legacy of Kobe and Gigi Bryant, who were strong advocates for equal opportunities for girls in sports.

The award presentation honors not only Drysdale’s accomplishments but also the Bryants’ dedication to the same cause. Kobe Bryant, a legendary NBA player, was a vocal supporter of women’s basketball and actively coached and mentored players of all ages. Sadly, both Kobe and his daughter Gianna tragically passed away in a helicopter accident in 2020.

The Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation 

The Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, established by the Bryant family, carries on their mission of empowering girls through sports. This non-profit organization provides resources and funding to create a level playing field for young female athletes.

A True Inspiration

Ann Meyers Drysdale serves as an inspiration for aspiring athletes everywhere. Her unwavering dedication to the sport and her commitment to providing opportunities for girls in basketball make her a truly deserving recipient of the Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award.

This award ceremony not only celebrates Drysdale’s remarkable career but also serves as a powerful reminder of the Bryants’ lasting impact on the world of sports and their enduring legacy of promoting equality and opportunity for all.