Rick Fox Finally Speaks on the Rumor That He Was Killed in Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash

People are still in shock over the sudden deaths of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. The two died, along with seven other people, in a helicopter accident in California on Jan. 26.

Rick Fox
Rick Fox | Matthew Eisman/Getty Images for Blizzard Entertainment

When news first broke about the accident, the details of the crash were unclear. No one knew exactly who was on the helicopter with Bryant. Some outlets reported that Bryant’s former Los Angeles Lakers teammate, Rick Fox, was onboard.

Fortunately, Fox was not in the helicopter when it crashed, but it must have been terrifying for his family to read so many reports saying that he was.

What does Rick Fox have to say?

Fox has kept pretty quiet since Bryant died, but on Jan. 28th, he spoke to Inside the NBA to discuss what it felt like for people to think he had died.

“My family went through, in the midst of all this, something that I couldn’t imagine them experiencing,” Fox said. “One of my daughter’s greatest fears is finding out that one of her parents has been lost through social media, instead of from a loved one or a family member. And she, fortunately, called me and we were just talking and crying about the news of Kobe.”

Of course, Fox’s friends also wanted to speak to him when they heard the news.

“The phone starts going off, and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Everybody wants to talk about Kobe.’ And right now I want to be with my kids and my family,” Fox continued.

And he didn’t answer any calls until his best friend, coach King Rice called.

“I’m seeing King’s number repeatedly going and going and going, and so I think he’s worried about me, so I said, ‘I’m gonna talk to my best friend,’ so I answered and said, ‘Hey man, this is crazy about Kobe,’ and he just was bawling,” Fox said. “He was like, ‘You’re alive!’ And I was like, ‘Well, yeah. What do you mean?’ And it was in that moment that my phone just started going, and my mom and my sister and my brother [were calling].”

But eventually, the rumor died down as more facts began to emerge.

“I’m glad that [the rumor] is over with, but it was hard to deal with because it shook a lot of people in my life.”

Where was Kobe Bryant going when he died?

Kobe and Gianna were on their way to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks when the crash occurred. Onboard with the pair, were two of Gianna’s teammates, Alyssa Altobelli and Peyton Chester. Both of Alyssa’s parents, Keri and John Altobelli, were on the plane, as well as Payton’s mom, Sarah Chester. Women’s basketball coach Christina Mauser and the pilot Ara Zobayan were also killed in the crash.

Reactions to Kobe Bryant’s death

Bryant’s former teammates and those who knew him have been having a hard time coping with this loss.

“This has been a lot to process for all of us,” Fox said. “Quite frankly, we were blessed to have had the time we had with Kobe. A city is mourning, a family is mourning, we are all mourning.”

Basketball player Dwyane Wade also sent his condolences.

“RIP Kobe + GiGi ❤️💔,” he wrote on Instagram. “I know you said keep going but today we can’t. We love you and we’re gonna miss you brother.”