Barack Obama honored the late Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven others who lost their lives during the helicopter crash during All-Star Weekend.

Former President Barack Obama, a noted basketball fan, used his speech during the NBA All-Star Weekend Newsmaker Brunch to reflect on the passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven others who lost their lives during the fateful helicopter crash on January 26th.

“That loss is something that I know many are still grappling with particularly Kobe because he was with his daughter and those families, and those children,” Obama said, according to an Instagram post from Wolf Blitzer. “Those of us who have had the joy and privilege of being parents and taking kids to ballgames, and then rooting for our children, and seeing our dreams and hopes passed on to them. Nothing is more heartbreaking.”

The last two championships that Bryant won were while Obama was in the White House.

Later that day, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the league would be renaming the All-Star MVP award after Kobe Bryant. Bryant is tied for the most All-Star game MVPs of all time with four.

“We were thinking about what the best way is, one of the ways to honor Kobe,” Silver explained. “It happened to be that his loss came shortly before we were moving into All-Star festivities. I think one of the things that stands out with Kobe, of course in addition to his five championships, is that he has [made 18 All-Star teams] and tied for the record of four MVPs. To all of us, it seemed like the appropriate way to bring honor to him.”

The NBA All-Star Game tips off Sunday at 8:00 PM.

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