James Franklin, Saquon Barkley Share Significance of Being a 'Girl Dad'

By Craig Fritz on January 30, 2020 at 8:00 am
Apr 21, 2018; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin walks with his daughters Addy and Shola around the field prior to the Blue White spring game at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

In the wake of deaths of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, fans, colleagues, players, sportswriters, and more have found a way to mourn and memorialize the Bryants through the hashtag #GirlDad.

The term comes directly from the Lakers legend. In a moving monologue, ESPN's Elle Duncan recalled a conversation with Bryant, here is the excerpt that got the movement going:

"I asked him [Bryant] advice on raising girls, as he quite famously had three at the time. He said, 'just be grateful that you've been given that gift because girls are amazing.' His third daughter, Bianka, was about a year-and-a-half old at the time, so I asked if he wanted more children. He said that his wife Vanessa really wanted to try again for a boy, but was sort of jokingly concerned that it would be another girl. And I was like, 'four girls, are you joking? What would you think? How would you feel?' Without hesitation, he said 'I would have five more girls if I could. I'm a girl dad.'

On Wednesday, Penn State Coach James Franklin and former star Saquon Barkley (who has long idolized Bryant) shared why being the father of daughters was so important to them.

As the father of three sons and a newly arrived daughter, Lucy, I am now a #GirlDad. I encourage you to check out #GirlDad on Twitter and Instagram for some truly special snippets of life and love from all over the world. It is a fitting tribute to a man that cherished his four daughters.