In an emotional speech at the NBA All-Star Weekend, Obama described his death as shocking, saying, “nothing is more heartbreaking”.
“That loss is something I know many are still grappling with. Particularly Kobe, because he was with his daughter and those families and those children and those of us who have had the joy and privilege of being parents and taking kids to ball games and then rooting for our children and seeing our dreams and hopes passed on to them. Nothing is more heartbreaking,” Obama stated.
While in Chicago participating in a panel discussion alongside players Chris Paul, Kevin Love, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and ESPN’s Mike Wilbon, Obama reflected on his last conversation with Bryant.
In a tweet from ESPN reporter Marc J. Spears, Obama said: “The late Lakers star told him he didn’t miss basketball because he was focused on being great off the court.”
Meanwhile, Oscar-winning actress and singer, Jennifer Hudson, sang a rendition of “For All We Know (We May Meet Again)” while images of Kobe Bryant and Gianna were shown in the background.
After her impeccable performance, Chicago rapper, Common began a spoken word tribute, praising Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, Dwayne Wade, and Obama.
The death of Kobe and his daughter, Gianna Bryant sent shock waves across the globe after it was announced, January 26. The duo alongside seven others died after their helicopter crashed near Calabasas in Los Angeles. He was 41.
The other victims were Gianna’s teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester; Alyssa’s parents, John and Keri Altobelli; Payton’s mother, Sarah Chester; assistant girls basketball coach Christina Mauser; and helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan.
NBA legend, Michael Jordan also gave a glowing tribute to the former commissioner, David Stern who died Jan 1.
Johnson said Stern “saved my life, and the lives of millions of people” when Stern allowed him to play the 1992 All-Star Game in Orlando after Johnson announced he was HIV positive.