After the tragic death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others due to this past weekend’s helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, it’s been reported that Kobe often used helicopters for his mode of transportation. Now, an insider claims that Kobe and his wife, Vanessa, had a deal that they would never fly together.
Kobe, Gianna, and seven others died on Sunday morning when their helicopter crashed en route to a youth basketball game. Kobe told Alex Rodriguez in 2018 that he started using helicopters when he played for the Los Angeles Lakers because he would often find himself stuck in traffic and missing family events.
“I was sitting in traffic and I wound up missing like a school play,” explained Bryant. “I had to figure out a way where I could still train and focus on the craft but still not compromise family time. So that’s when I looked into helicopters, to be able to get down and back in 15 minutes and that’s when it started.”
An insider told People magazine after the crash that Kobe and Vanessa had a deal that they would never fly in a helicopter together, and he “only” flew with pilot Ara Zobayan, who also died on Sunday.
Kobe and Vanessa started dating when they were teenagers, and they married in 2001. The couple welcomed four children during their marriage – Natalia, 17, Gianna, 13, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
Kobe often gushed about his daughters, and told ESPN’s Elle Duncan in 2018 that he loved being a “girl dad.” He also told Maria Shriver in an interview last November that being a father is his greatest accomplishment and the thing he is most proud of in this world.
The future NBA Hall-of-Famer explained that he learned so much from his experience of being a father, the most important thing being the “fierce, unconditional love” you have for your children. He added that he was blessed to have had the wonderful experience four times, and there is nothing more powerful in the world.
Another source told People that Kobe Bryant was a “very hands-on dad,” and one of the biggest things he looked forward to after retiring from the NBA in 2016 was spending more time with his family.
The insider added that Kobe Bryant was proud to see his girls take after him and Vanessa, but also grow on their own.
“He had a special bond with each of his daughters,” said the insider.