Barack Obama On The Deaths Of Kobe And Gianna Bryant: ‘Nothing Is More Heartbreaking’

The NBA All-Star Game brings all kinds of people to its host city, and with Chicago handling those duties it seems inevitable that former president Barack Obama joined the festivities this weekend. Obama was all over Chicago during All-Star Weekend, hosting a “fireside chat,” attending NBA events and also speaking about the heartbreak he’s felt over the death of Kobe Bryant.

Obama spoke at the NBA’s Newsmaker Breakfast on Saturday to express his emotions about the loss of Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the other parents and children who lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles in late January, saying “nothing is more heartbreaking” than a parent losing a child.

“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 on Saturday. “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.”

Obama also made a surprise appearance at an NBA Cares event on Saturday, chatting up NBA players and others as he helped fill backpacks and meet with some starstruck teens.

One of those teens included Zion Williamson, who was surprised Obama knew so much about his career at Duke and that he’s been keeping tabs on him now in the NBA.

Obama’s ties to basketball are strong, so it’s no surprise that he’s making the most of All-Star Weekend in his hometown. And it’s certainly making an impact on those he’s spending time with there.