On Sunday, former President Barack Obama joined the millions of basketball fans who mourned the tragic loss of NBA great Kobe Bryant.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were two of the passengers on board Kobe’s private helicopter when it crashed in Calabasas, California early Sunday morning. They were traveling to Kobe’s Mamba Academy for basketball practice. According to reports, nine people were killed in the crash, including Kobe and his daughter. There were no survivors.
In response to the tragedy, former President Obama, who is an avid basketball fan, took to Twitter to pay tribute to Kobe. He mentioned the beloved Los Angeles Lakers star’s past on the court, as well as the future that he faced when the star athlete met his untimely end. Obama also mourned the loss of Gianna, who went by the nickname Gigi, and he conveyed former First Lady Michelle Obama’s condolences on her behalf.
“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act,” Obama wrote.
“To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.”
Kobe left behind his wife Vanessa and three other daughters, Natalia, 17-years-old, Bianka, 3-years-old, and Capri, 6-months-old.
As reported by Politico, Kobe visited Obama at the White House after announcing his retirement from professional basketball in 2015. The former president was also at a transitional point in his life as his presidency was coming to an end, and the two men reportedly chatted about their next chapters.
Kobe was interested in politics, and he shared his ideas for passion projects — including ways to reduce gun violence — with White House staffers. Kobe credited Obama with making athletes like him more politically aware, and he said that he missed the former president in 2017 after his second term was over.
“Conversations changed. Obviously, now with the violence we’re seeing across the country, that’s something athletes are understanding more and more,” Kobe said. “He [Obama] was rare. We all miss him to a certain extent.”
According to TMZ, Barack and Kobe didn’t just talk politics and sports. In 2018, Kobe, who won an Oscar for his short film Dear Basketball, revealed that he had given the former president a “little bit” of movie advice after the Obamas signed a deal with Netflix.