On Monday afternoon, just hours after learning that Kobe Bryant's wife, Gianna, and her two children Gianni and Kourtney were among nine passengers killed when a small plane crashed in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood, President Barack Obama sent this tweet: “I'm deeply saddened by the news out of LA. My thoughts are with the families of the victims & those in recovery.” Just hours before Obama's tweet, Bryant had posted a message on his official Facebook page that read, “Gianna and I are deeply saddened by the news from LA. Our thoughts are with the families of all involved and everyone who made the choice to fly this airplane.” The message is signed, “The King.”
When I asked Bryant's trainer, Rob Fodor, about Obama's tweet, he told me that there wasn't much more he could say about it other than that it was good to hear from the president. “I'm glad that he is concerned,” Fodor said.
When I asked Fodor if he thought the tweet was a tribute to the basketball legend, he told me that it was not a tribute in any way, shape, or form. “Kobe and his family have always given so much to their community and their country,” Fodor said.
Even though the tweet about Bryant is only a tribute to the basketball player, it is also a tribute to how far the athlete has come. Like many other athletes in the past, Kobe was once considered a bad boy who got into fights and who made a lot of enemies while on the court.
While there are a number of negative things about the man known as the Black Mamba, including the public's perception that he is a gang member who uses illegal substances, Kobe has always been upfront about his personal life. He recently went on ESPN's Grantland Sports Report and said that he was married to one of the most beautiful women in the world, and that they had a son together. And while most people would agree that his career hasn't always lived up to expectations, Kobe still remains one of the NBA's premier players today, even if he does play with a chip on his shoulder.
As for whether or not this tweet was indeed a tribute to the athlete and his wife, I don't know. Maybe it is. But, given the way he has handled the news about his wife and their child, it seems likely that it was.
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