Kobe Bryant had been using helicopters for years, multiple reports say. And given the circumstances, the reason why is heartbreaking.
Bryant, like many fathers was juggling his professional and personal lives and with his well-known commitment to excellence, he wanted to be great at both. So helicopters became a part of that desire.
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In 2018, in an interview with baseball player Alex Rodriguez and Big Cat on their “The Corp with A Rod and Big Cat” podcast, Bryant explained that he used helicopters to help him beat the notorious Los Angeles traffic so he wouldn’t miss time with his family.
Multiple reports say that Bryant flew back and forth to games at the Staples Center from his Southern California home. In retirement, he’d formed Mamba Academy girl’s basketball team and was mentoring his daughter Gianna, 13, a burgeoning basketball star. Two other girls who played basketball, died in the crash as well.
The crash’s 7 other victims have been identified as college baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, his wife Keri and youngest daughter Alyssa, 13, a teammate of Gianna’s, Mamba Academy assistant coach Christina Maurer, 38, Sarah Chester and her 13-year-old daughter, Payton, and helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan, Bryant’s private pilot.
Tributes continue to pour in from the sports and entertainment world. Jennifer Lopez penned a heartfelt post, as did Jessica Simpson, who lives near the crash site, and soccer star David Beckham.
An unusually low-key Stephen A. Smith, who covered Bryant from his high school days, mourned him as well.
As did the rest of the basketball community:
And native Los Angeleno Ice Cube, a big Lakers fan, talked about Kobe’s legacy:
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