After the sudden death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant on January 26 2020, the Facebook page “Call to Activism” shared the following meme, which purportedly quoted Bryant speaking about United States President Donald Trump:
White and yellow text against a black and white image of Bryant on the court read:
“A #POTUS whose name alone creates division and anger. Whose words inspire dissension and hatred can’t possibly ‘Make America Great Again'”
Not long after news broke that Bryant was possibly one of several fatalities in a helicopter crash near the southern California city of Calabasas, Trump tweeted twice expressing condolences and praising the athlete:
Trump’s two-tweet statement read in full:
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 U.S. President Barack Obama also acknowledged Bryant’s death on Twitter:
Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. 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.
Near the top of replies to Trump’s first tweet were apparent screenshots of a tweet by Bryant:
In a tweet dated September 23 2017, Bryant said:
On a meme created after Kobe Bryant’s death, a meme quoted him as saying a President “whose name alone creates division and anger” and whose “words inspire dissension and hatred can’t possibly ‘Make America Great Again.'” That quote is real, and it was taken from a tweet posted by Bryant in September 2017.