Kobe Bryant died in a shocking helicopter crash on Sunday, and fans are still trying to make sense of the tragedy. Many are revisiting Bryant's history with helicopter travel, and the sad explanation for why he relied on it so often.
Bryant has been traveling by helicopter whenever possible for years, as he has explained in interviews over time. He has given a few reasons for this, but one story in particular struck a chord with fans. It made the rounds on social media on Monday morning.
In a 2018 interview on The Corp, Bryant talked about how hard it was to balance his basketball career with his family life as his children grew older. He recalled one instance where he missed a school play because of Los Angeles' infamous traffic. He was determined to find a way to "still train and focus on the craft, but not compromise family time."
"So, that's when I looked into helicopters. [I'd] be able to get down and back in fifteen minutes. And that's when it started. So my routine was always the same: weights early in the morning, kids to school, fly down, practice like crazy, do my extra work — media, everything I needed to do — fly back, get back in the carpool line and pick the kids up."
"My wife was like 'listen, I can pick them up,'" Bryant recalled. "I'm like, 'no no no! I want to do that. Because you know, you have road trips and times when you don't see your kids, man. So like, every time I got the chance to see them and spend time with them, even if it's 20 minutes in the car... like, I want that."
The clip tugged at fans' heartstrings, and many responded with crying emojis, saying that this piece of information had broken their hearts.
He died right when he was starting to live his life as a dad and watching his kids grow and that’s what hurts the most— Emotionally Unavaliable #Titans (@BGeneus) January 27, 2020
"True definition of Dedication. Kobe didn't utilize the 'free pass' he could've used to excuse his absence in his children's lives," one fan tweeted. "He implemented a strategy with his wife to make sure he fulfilled his obligations as a father. This just makes it even harder to accept what happened."0comments
Other explanations for Bryant's helicopter flights have circulated over the years. In 2010, a profile in GQ Magazine stated that Bryant's chronic pain and accumulated injuries made it unbearable for him to sit in the traffic that plagues L.A. Either way, he was known to take many flights over the city.
Bryant was flying from John Wayne Airport near his home in Orange County, California, at the time of the crash. He was taking his daughter to her own basketball game at his Mamba Sports Academy in Los Angeles. Their helicopter went down in Calabasas. There were no survivors.