Later on Sunday afternoon, Trump tweeted: “Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the truly great basketball players of all time, was just getting started in life. He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating. Melania and I send our warmest condolences to Vanessa and the wonderful Bryant family. May God be with you all!”
Former president Barack Obama said Kobe “was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act.”
He added that “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.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the all-time NBA scoring leader, tweeted his heart-felt sadness, saying: “Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players. But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete.”
“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals. But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.”
The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) said it’s “stunned and saddened by the news of the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant.” It called Bryant’s death “a monumental loss for the entire basketball community and our hearts are quite simply broken. We send love and prayers out to his wife Vanessa and the entire family.”