Former President Barack Obama paid tribute at an NBA All-Star Weekend Newsmaker Brunch Saturday to basketball great Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, who died in a helicopter crash last month.
“That loss is something that I know many are still grappling with,” Obama told attendees Saturday, adding, “particularly Kobe because he was with his daughter and those families, and those children.”
“Those of us who have had the joy and privilege of being parents, and taking our kids to games, and rooting for our children, and then seeing our dreams and hopes passed on to them … nothing is more heartbreaking,” he told the Chicago crowd.
He also offered condolences to the NBA for the deaths of Bryant and former commissioner David Stern, who passed away on Jan. 1.
The speech was posted Instagram by CNN reporter Wolf Blitzer.
The league continued to honor Bryant, this time announcing it will rename the All Star Game MVP award after the late Lakers great.
Kobe and Gianna Bryant were killed when the helicopter they were riding in crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California on the morning on Jan. 26. The crash also claimed the lives of pilot Ara Zobayan; Orange Coast College head baseball coach John Altobelli; his wife Keri Altobelli; their 14-year-old daughter Alyssa Altobelli; Christina Mauser, a basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Newport Beach; 13-year-old Payton Chester, a basketball teammate of Gianna’s; and her mother, Sarah Chester.
A public memorial for the victims is scheduled to take place at the Staples Center on Feb. 24.