Former President Barack Obama joined so many others this week in grief and shock over the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed early Sunday along with his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash in the Los Angeles area.
“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act,” Obama tweeted later Sunday. “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,” Obama continued.
His friendship with Bryant dates back years. Bryant visited Obama (a noted basketball fan) repeatedly in the White House, including in 2015 as he prepared to retire from the L.A. Lakers.
“He and Obama talked at length about the end of the current chapters in their lives,” according to Politico.
Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. 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.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 26, 2020
A few years earlier, Bryant had picked the brains of some Obama staffers about their digital operation. Bryant also was one of the NBA players invited to play basketball with Obama for the president’s 49th birthday, Obama’s brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, said in 2017.
In 2018, TMZ caught Bryant in D.C. where he said that he had given a “little bit” of advice to the Obamas about transitioning into entertainment. The former first couple signed a Netflix deal after leaving the White House. Bryant won an Oscar last year for his animated short Dear Basketball.