Former Los Angeles Laker Rick Fox joined Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Dwyane Wade, Derek Fisher, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson on Inside the NBA Tuesday night on TNT to remember Kobe Bryant after a helicopter crash took the NBA legend’s life along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. This was the first time Fox had spoken publicly since false reports claimed that he had died in Sunday’s crash, and he explained how difficult it was for his family.
“My family went through, in the midst of all this, something that I couldn’t have imagined them experiencing,” said the 50-year-old. “One of my daughter’s greatest fears is finding out that a parent, one of her parents, [has died] through social media instead of from a loved one or a family member.”
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 29, 2020
Fox said that he spent about 45 minutes talking to his kids after he found out about Kobe’s death, and while he was talking to his children his best friend King Rice kept calling. Fox explained that after seeing his best friend’s number repeatedly, he thought that he must be worried about him, and that’s when he answered the phone.
Fox said that when he answered he immediately said, “Hey man, this is crazy about Kobe.” And, his friend just started bawling and saying, “You’re alive!” At that point, Fox had no idea there were false reports circulating about him being in the helicopter and dying in the crash.
The retired NBA player said that after talking to King Rice, he started getting calls from his mom, sister, and brother. Fox said that this his has been a lot to process, and he’s glad the false reports were corrected. But, it was difficult because it shook a lot of people in his life.
To confirm my stepdad Rick Fox is ALIVE and safe! I just got off the phone with my sister. We are all in shock and deeply saddened but please don’t spread false news. #ripkobe 💔 pic.twitter.com/vGSAShagkk
— LION BABE (@LionBabe) January 26, 2020
Fox’s step-daughter Jillian Harvey tweeted the news that Fox was alive and safe after the reports about him started to circulate on social media. Harvey wrote that everyone was in shock and deeply saddened, but asked them not to spread false news.
Along with Kobe and Gianna Bryant, college baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and his daughter Alyssa were also killed. As were basketball coach Christina Mauser, family friend Sarah Chester, and her daughter Payton. Helicopter pilot Ara Zobayan also lost his life in the crash.
Kobe Bryant and Rick Fox were teammates on the Los Angeles Lakers from 1997 to 2004.