International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach called Kobe Bryant an outstanding and true Olympic champion on Monday, a day after the NBA star’s death in a helicopter crash.
Bryant led the U.S. men’s basketball team to two gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
He embraced the power of sport to change peoples lives, Bach said in a statement put out by IOC. After retiring from the game he loved so much, he continued to support the Olympic Movement and was an inspiration for the Olympic Games LA 2028.
Los Angeles will host the Olympics in 2028.
Bryant participated in the city’s bidding process, including narrating the final filmed segment for the bid. The mens basketball competition for the 2028 Olympics will be held in the Staples Center, where Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers during his entire 20-year career.
Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna, 13, died in the helicopter crash Sunday along with seven others in foggy weather conditions.
We will all miss his energy and his humble nature, Bach said. Our thoughts are with his family and friends and all the other victims.