Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were killed in a tragic helicopter crash on Sunday morning, shocking millions of his fans and friends around the world. According to People, the NBA legend started using the aircraft that would eventually take his life at the age of 41 because he wanted to be able to have more time to spend with his beloved daughters.
Kobe said in a December 2018 interview that the traffic in Los Angeles was so bad that he missed events with his daughters because he ended up stuck driving. As such, he started trying to figure out a better way to get around the city, and that’s where helicopters came in.
“Traffic started getting really, really bad,” he told Alex Rodriguez during the podcast. “And I was sitting in traffic and I wound up missing like a school play, because I was sitting in traffic. … I had to figure out a way where I could still train and focus on the craft but still not compromise family time.”
Bryant said that traffic started getting bad when he was playing for the Lakers. He said he would be heading to practice and wasn’t able to drop off his girls for school because the traffic would take too much time out of his day. His wife, Vanessa Bryant, offered to pick their daughters up from school, but Kobe said that he wanted to be the one to do it.
“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,” he said.
Kobe said that even traveling in the car with his girls was an important time to have with them.
“So every chance I get to see them, to spend time with them, even if it’s 20 minutes in the car,” he said.
Kobe was famously fond of being a father. When he retired from basketball in December 2017, he spoke directly to his daughters, telling them that if they work hard, even when they don’t feel like it, they can realize their dreams, as Us Magazine reported.
He added that the important thing is the journey and not the destination, saying that if the girls learned that lesson, he’d done his job as a father.
Kobe’s daughter Gianna, 13, was also killed in the crash, which occurred when they were traveling to basketball practice. Kobe and Gianna are survived by his Vanessa and daughters Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.