Kobe Bryant had a busy schedule when he played for the Los Angeles Lakers, but he said using a helicopter to commute to and from practice allowed him to make sure he was back in time to pick up his kids from school.
Bryant died Sunday at age 41 in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna, 13. In a December 2018 interview with Barstool Sports, Bryant explained how the commute from Los Angeles to his home in Newport Beach became so congested that he decided to start traveling by helicopter.
"I was sitting in traffic and I wound up missing a school play because I was sitting in traffic, and this thing just kept mounting, and 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. "And so that's when I looked into helicopters and being able to get down and back in 15 minutes. And that’s when it started."
Bryant retired after the 2015-2016 season. He said his routine was "always the same," beginning with a 4 a.m. alarm.
"Weights early in the morning, kids to school, fly down, practice like crazy, do my extra work, media, everything I needed to do," he said. Then he would "fly back, get back in the carpool line and pick my kids up."
Bryant said his wife, Vanessa, offered to pick their kids up instead, but it was a part of the day that he loved and insisted on doing.
"I want to do that. You have road trips and times you don’t see your kids," he said. "Every chance I get to see them and spend time with them, even if it’s 20 minutes in a car, I want that. So that would be my routine."
Bryant is survived by wife Vanessa and three daughters, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri Kobe, 7 months.
Seven other people also died in the crash, including the pilot and two of Gianna's 13-year-old basketball teammates, Payton Chester and Alyssa Altobelli. Chester's mother, Sarah, also was killed along with Altobelli's parents, longtime college baseball coach John Altobelli and his wife, Keri.