(AllHipHop News) President Barack Obama paid tribute to the late basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash earlier today.
Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna were confirmed dead in the crash, which claimed the lives of three other people on Sunday morning (January 26th) in Calabasas, California.
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
Federal Aviation Administration officials confirmed Bryant was a passenger in his own Sikorsky S-76 helicopter, which crashed under “unknown circumstances.”
Kobe Bryant’s daughter Gianna was also killed in the accident. He is survived by Vanessa, and their three children Natalia, Bianca, and baby Capri.
Statement from Michael Jordan: pic.twitter.com/oI7w6e7HLI
— Estee Portnoy (@esteep) January 26, 2020
Kobe Bryant is considered among the five greatest basketball players of all time.
Bryant skipped college after becoming a sports phenomenon at Lower Merion High in Pennsylvania and joined the Lakers, aged 17, in 1996 after a deal with the Charlotte Hornets, who selected him in the NBA Draft.
Bryant made his professional debut in the Lakers’ 1996-97 season opener against Minnesota, becoming the youngest player ever to appear in an NBA game.
The 18-time NBA All-Star won five championships with the Lakers.
Kobe and I shared so many special conversations about life and basketball. We had so much in common off the court. I used to love talking to him about Lakers basketball, being fathers and husbands and how much we loved Italy. I will miss those conversations and him so much. pic.twitter.com/PIv7obzr2x
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 26, 2020
In 2008, Bryant was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player and he was also a two-time Olympic gold medalist as a member of the USA Men’s Basketball.
He retired in 2016.
Bryant then turned his attentions to Hollywood and won an Academy Award in 2018 for his short film “Dear Basketball.”
On Saturday, fellow Lakers star LeBron James surpassed Kobe Bryant to take the #3 spot on the NBA’s All-Time Scoring List following a loss to the 76ers.
Lebron James paid tribute to Bryant with special Nike shoes during the game and Kobe Bryant was extremely gracious to LeBron in a congratulatory Tweet.
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020