Hailey Van Lith has been the talk of the town in recent times. She has been a superstar for the Louisville Cardinals and has played a pivotal role in every bit of success the team has tasted recently. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes. The game ended 83-97 to the Hawkeyes, thanks to Caitlin Clark’s superb show. She put up a triple-double of 41 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists to lead the Hawkeyes to a win.
Although Hailey’s wait for the NCAA championship continues, it would be safe for us to claim that she put on a show. She has averaged 19.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in the 2022-23 season for the Cardinals. Her numbers speak at length about her talent on the court but it would be astonishing to realize that an NBA legend predicted this a long time ago.
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For those who don’t know, NBA icon Kobe Bryant mentored Hailey when she was in Cashmere High School. She was friends with Kobe’s daughter, Gianna. Van Lith spoke to Los Angeles Times in the past and revealed what the Black Mamba saw in her.
Kobe Bryant saw himself in Hailey Van Lith
She said, “When I later asked him, ‘Why me?’ he basically said the way I play, my work ethic and mentality on the court, reminded him of himself, and it compelled him to reach out to me.” The 5x NBA champ was so impressed that he wanted Gigi to learn from Hailey as well. Hailey’s father, Corey, opened up on how Kobe wanted Gigi to have an example in front of her.
“He wanted to help Hailey, but he also wanted to put someone in front of his daughter she could relate to, because Hailey is an incredibly hard worker. Hailey has devoted her life so far to becoming the best person and basketball player she can possibly be, and he wanted to show Gigi, ‘If you do this, you can attain the goals you want to attain,” Corey said.
Hailey has become an even better talent right now. She was a prodigy in high school but her game has developed massively since she entered her junior year at the University of Louisville. Looking at her numbers now, it would be safe to claim that Kobe is looking down on Hailey with pride, knowing that she is working toward becoming the best version of herself.
It is heartbreaking to know that Hailey and Gigi could have taken the women’s basketball scene by storm together. Gigi was talented and had her entire career ahead. Kobe recognized the potential she had and even mentioned that she could follow in Ann Meyers’ footsteps to play in the NBA as well.