"It would have been a dream come true for her. She worked tirelessly every single day. She wanted to be one of the greatest athletes of all-time, just like her daddy. So thank you, thank you for honoring my little girl."
Vanessa, with tears in her eyes, added, "Kobe and GiGi loved the WNBA. This is his sweatshirt. Thank you. I want to congratulate all of this year's draft picks. So congratulations, work hard. Never settle. Use that Mamba Mentality."
Gianna Bryant and her Mamba Academy teammates will be memorialized in a big way Friday night ... the WNBA is set to make them honorary picks in the org's annual draft, according to Vanessa Bryant.
GiGi, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester -- who all passed away in a helicopter crash withKobe Bryant -- will get the honor at some point during the televised selection process.
Of course, it's a huge deal for the trio ... they all had WNBA aspirations before their tragic deaths in January -- and Vanessa praised the tribute on social media Friday.
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The league's show -- which is slated to be entirely virtual this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic -- is set to kick off at 4 PM PT on ESPN.
The WNBA becomes the latest in a long line of organizations, celebs and athletes that have paid tribute to the victims following the devastating helicopter wreck.