LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Kobe Bryant was “an outstanding and true Olympic champion,” IOC President Thomas Bach said Monday.
The basketball great, who was killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles on Sunday, helped the United States win Olympic gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2012 London Games.
Bryant also worked with the Olympic hosting bid for Los Angeles, the city where he won five NBA titles with the Lakers. When Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Olympics, men’s basketball will be played at the Staples Center, where Bryant played with the Lakers.
“He embraced the power of sport to change people’s lives,” Bach said in a statement published by the International Olympic Committee. “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.”
Bryant narrated the final filmed segment of the L.A. bid team’s presentation in July 2017. He was a member of the bid’s board of directors.