Liberty's Sabrina Ionescu spends movie night with Kobe Bryant's family during rehab

Cassandra Negley
·3 min read

Sabrina Ionescu, the New York Liberty’s celebrated No. 1 draft pick, is spending her time rehabbing an ankle injury with some very special people.

Ionescu shared a photo on her Instagram Story showing her surrounded by Kobe Bryant’s family on the couch.

Sabrina Ionescu spent a movie night with the Bryant family. (Screenshot/Instagram)
Sabrina Ionescu spent a movie night with the Bryant family. (Screenshot/Instagram)

It’s captioned “Good day. 19.08.2020” and “Movie night.” Ionescu appears to be holding 3-year-old Bianka alongside Natalia, 17, and Bryant’s wife, Vanessa. Capri, who turned 1 in June, might have been in bed.

Natalia re-shared the post on her own story with three red hearts.

Ionescu remains close with Bryant family

Sabrina Ionescu dribbles a ball on the WNBA court at IMG.
Sabrina Ionescu is rehabbing her ankle injury and spending movie nights with the Bryants. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Ionescu, 22, had a close bond with Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. They were among nine killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, in January.

Ionescu, who quickly became a star at Oregon and a sensation in the hoops world, counted Bryant as a mentor. She trained with Kobe and Gianna, and coached Gianna’s basketball team from time to time. The father and daughter attended an Oregon game last year, and after their deaths, Ionescu dedicated the season to living out Bryant’s legacy.

She was asked by Vanessa to speak at the celebration of Kobe’s life in February at the Staples Center. That same night at Stanford she became the first NCAA Division I player with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in a career.

Ionescu remains close with the family. On Wednesday she shared another photo on her Instagram Story, showing new Nikes and a black Bryant No. 24 jersey and tagged Vanessa. Over the past few months they have shared photos of flowers and the like, with each other tagged. Ionescu has also visited the family a few times, even making a fun TikTok video with Natalia that had a special Bianka surprise at the end.

Ionescu still rehabbing ankle injury outside of ‘wubble’

Ionescu suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain in the third game of her professional career and returned to New York to see a specialist. On Aug. 1 it was reported she was expected to miss about a month. The team has not given an update. She left the “wubble” — as the WNBA calls its IMG Academy bubble — on Aug. 5.

If she’s on track in her recovery, she could return for the Liberty’s final four or five games. It seems unlikely she will return this season, though, because the Liberty are not on track to make the playoffs.

Ionescu shared photos of Brooklyn on Instagram when she first arrived there to see a specialist. She has been quiet since, though she did announce a new partnership with Body Armor and sent a heartwarming letter to a new, young fan.

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