Former President Barack Obama and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot paid tribute to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant after former NBA star was one of nine people killed in helicopter crash in California.
The former president, a basketball enthusiast who has repeatedly welcomed Bryant and his Lakers teammates to the White House, posted a social media post mourning the deaths of Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who was also on board the helicopter when it crashed:
âKobe was a legend in the field and was just starting what would have been an equally meaningful second act,â Obama said. âLosing Gianna is even more heartbreaking for us as parents. Michelle and I send our love and prayers to Vanessa and the whole Bryant family on an unthinkable day.â
Lightfoot said she was “saddened” by Bryant’s death, calling him one of the greatest legends in the NBA:
“Saddened by the death of Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest NBA legends who inspired fans with her drive and passion,” she said. “Our hearts go out to his family during this painful time, as well as to the families of all those lost in this terrible tragedy.”
Bryant was one of five people believed to be aboard a helicopter that crashed just northwest of Los Angeles on Sunday morning. Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people were also in the helicopter when it crashed.
Many NBA teams paid homage to Bryant on Sunday, with the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs each letting the 24-second timer expire to begin the game in honor of Bryant’s life.