The source also revealed that Kobe began using helicopters as a mode of transportation so he could spend less time stuck in traffic and more with his family.
NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, always used this mode of transport to get around LA, but apparently, he and his wife Vannesa made it a point to never fly together, reports People. “He and Vanessa had a deal that they would never fly on a helicopter together,” a source said of the couple, who tied the knot in 2001. Bryant is survived by Vanessa, 37, and their daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, who was born in June 2019. ESPN reported that the passengers aboard the helicopter were on their way to a youth basketball game at the time of the crash.
The same source then revealed that Bryant only flew in helicopters with pilot Ara Zobayan, who was among those killed in the crash. Bryant gave an interview back in 2018, where he revealed he began using helicopters as a mode of transportation while he still played for the Lakers. This way, he could spend less time stuck in traffic jams and more time with his family. “I was sitting in traffic and I wound up missing like a school play,” he said to Alex Rodriguez in 2018.
“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,” he added. Also, during an interview with Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper in November, Bryant shared that out of all of his various accomplishments, being a father was the one he was most proud of.
“Being a father is the thing I am most proud of in this world; it’s my greatest accomplishment,” he said. “I’ve learned so much, but perhaps the most profound thing has been the fierce, unconditional love you have for your children when you become a parent. I’m blessed to have had that experience four times now and there’s nothing more powerful in this world.” A friend close to the family said, "One of the biggest things he was looking forward to after retiring from the NBA [in 2016] was getting to spend more time with his family."
“He was a very hands-on dad and, like any other father, saw such bright futures for all of his daughters.” The source added: “He was so proud to see them take after not only him and Vanessa but also grow into their own. He had a special bond with each of his daughters.” Derek Jeter, while memorializing his friend in an emotional tribute written for The Player's Tribune, noted that he always preferred talking about his family than his career.
“All I ever needed to know about Kobe Bryant was this: that throughout our friendship, the most meaningful conversations we had — they were always about family,” the retired baseball star, 45, wrote. “Here was this guy who was beyond gifted as an athlete, who was obsessed with being a champion, who was known as an absolute assassin with a ball in his hands,” he continued. “And in the moments I got to spend with him? He didn’t really talk about any of that. He cared much more about being a husband to Vanessa and a dad to his girls. He loved his family — he was his family. That’s what was important. And that’s the Kobe I’ll remember.”
Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.