(WHDH) — NBA legend Kobe Bryant was always on the go during his illustrious run with the Los Angeles Lakers. “The Black Mamba” put a premium on spending time with his family throughout the course of his career, especially given the long hours he spent training and working to maintain his status as one of the fiercest competitors in sports history.
Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other people were killed Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. They were heading to Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy, a youth sports center in Thousand Oaks. Bryant was to coach a basketball tournament there in which his daughter was supposed to play.
In an interview with Barstool Sports and Alex Rodriguez in 2018, Bryant said he decided to start traveling by helicopter to beat Los Angeles traffic, but more importantly, the five-time world champion wanted a way to better balance family time and basketball.
“Traffic started getting really, really bad. I was sitting in traffic and I would end up missing like a school play and things just kept mounting. I had to figure out a way where I could still train and focus on the craft but still not compromise family time,” Bryant told the news outlet. “That’s when I looked into helicopters, you know to be able to get down and back in 15 minutes.”
For years, Bryant said his daily 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,” Bryant said.
Bryant went on to explain that his wife had always offered to pick up the kids but he wanted to see his loved ones whenever possible.
“My wife was like, ‘Listen, I can pick them up.’ I’m like, ‘No, no, no, I want to do that,'” Bryant said. “You have road trips and times where you don’t see your kids, you know. So every chance I get to see them and spend time with them, even if it’s 20 minutes in a car, like, I want that.”
Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and his three daughters, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.
(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)