On Sunday, January 26, the world lost Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, two of her Mamba Academy teammates, their parents, and coach in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA. And while fans try to make sense of the accident that took place, one thing is certain, Kobe’s reasons for having a private helicopter are noble.
Kobe would often use a private helicopter to transport from his home in Newport Beach, CA to practice and games at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles when he played for the Lakers.
In an interview he did with Alex Rodriguez and Big Cat in 2018, Kobe explained his daily routine, saying that an increase in daily traffic and a decrease in time with his kids played a role in him getting a helicopter.
“I take the kids to school every morning and after I take the kids to school, I drive to practice. This was before people started really moving down south, so I could get to L.A. in 30-40 minutes,” he tells A-Rod.
He continued, “I’d stay late to practice, I could get back to town in time to pick the kids up from school, after school activities and all that fun stuff, even on weekends. But then traffic started getting really really bad and I was be sitting in traffic and I would end up missing a school play because I was sitting in traffic. These things just kept mounting so I had to figure out a way that I could still train and focus on the craft but still not compromise family time. So, that’s when I looked into helicopters and being able to get down and back in 15 minutes.”
For Kobe, investigating in a helicopter as a form of travel helped him cut down on how much time he spent in traffic and allowed him to spend more time with his kids. This was very important to him, considering that he was often away from his family when he played Away games.
“So, that’s when it started,” he tells A-Rod. “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 to pick the kids up, and my wife would be like, ‘I can pick the kids up,’ and I would say, ‘No, I want to do that because you have road trips and times where you don’t see your kids so every chance you get to see them and spend time with them, even if it’s 20 minutes in the car, I want that.'”
You can watch the full interview below. Kobe discusses his helicopter at 36 minutes and 50 seconds.