California: Following the untimely death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant on Sunday, the entire world has expressed shock at the devastating tragedy that has shook the sports world.
Among the many mourners was former US President and avid basketball fan Barack Obama who paid his condolences to Kobe Bryant’s family in the time of grief.
Remembering the NBA star, he wrote, ”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.”
Notably, Bryant visited the White House on multiple occasions during Obama’s time in the Oval Office and the two are said to have maintained friendship over the years.
In 2009, Bryant and the Lakers had paid a visit to the White House to celebrate NBA championship wins, and gifted Obama his own jersey. Before he retired from basketball in 2016, Bryant again visited Obama in Washington, D.C, to discuss how he could transition into a new chapter of his life, as per a report in The Week.
“He and Obama talked at length about the end of the current chapters in their lives,” according to Politico.
Many replied to Obama’s tweet sharing pictures of their friendship:
Bryant was also one of the NBA players invited to play basketball with Obama for the president’s 49th birthday.
The former Los Angeles Laker died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, alongside eight others on board. Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, also died in the crash.
Bryant, born in Philadelphia, spent his 20-year professional basketball career playing for the LA Lakers. He won five NBA championships and two Olympic gold medals for basketball, retiring from the sport in 2016.
Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa and the couple’s three other children; Natalia, Bianca and Capri.