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Honors For Anne Meyers Drysdale, Wife of the Late Don Drysdale

Dodgers great Hall of Fame pitcher, Don Drysdale, died of a heart attack in 1993. 31 years later, during the 2024 NBA All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, his widow, Anne Meyers Drysdale, was named the recipient of the 2024 Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award.

In her acceptance statement, she said, “Having been around the WNBA since its inception, I am truly humbled to accept the 2024 Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award and to be viewed as an advocate for girls and women in sports.

“I first met Kobe when his dad was coaching the Los Angeles Sparks, and I was on the Sparks’ broadcast team. I knew then how much passion Kobe had for the game of basketball and how that devotion ran in the family. It was a full-circle moment for me when Kobe led his daughters to the sport, and we all saw the support he gave to girls and women in the game.

“As someone who has also lost a husband while raising young children, I hope to honor Vanessa’s strength and bring further awareness to the ways that she continues to recognize her husband and daughter’s legacy.”

Vanessa Bryant, widow of the late Kobe Bryant, star for the Los Angeles Lakers, is intimately involved in selecting the annual honoree. The WNBA inaugurated the Kobe and Gigi Bryant Advocacy Award in 2020.

“Annie has been a force inspiring young girls on and off the court,” said Vanessa Bryant, “something she, Gianna and Kobe shared and cared about deeply. I’m happy Annie is receiving this award in Kobe and Gianna’s memory – she is so deserving.”

As great as her husband, Don Drysdale, was, Anne Meyers Drysdale has her own accomplishments to be proud of. She was UCLA’s first female athlete to be awarded a full athletic scholarship, and she competed in volleyball, track & field, and of course, basketball. In 1979 she made history by becoming the first female player to try out with a team in the men’s basketball professional league, the NBA. The team was the Indiana Pacers. Later she became the first woman to ever call an NBA game, serving as a color commentator for the same Indiana Pacers.

In the WNBA Anne Meyers Drysdale held the post of general manager and later vice president for the Phoenix Mercury when that franchise captured the league title in 2014.