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Kobe Bryant Flew in Private Helicopter to Prioritize ‘Family Time’: Video

Doing what he had to do. Kobe Bryant explained his frequent helicopter use in a December 2018 interview, saying it helped him see his four daughters on a regular basis.

Related: See Kobe Bryant’s Sweetest Moments With His Wife and 4 Daughters

“Traffic started getting really, really bad,” the late basketball legend, 41, who died in a tragic helicopter crash on Sunday, January 26, told Alex Rodriguez and Dan “Big Cat” Katz at the time. “I was sitting in traffic and wound up missing, like, the school play because I was sitting in traffic. These things 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. That’s when I looked into helicopters to be able to get down and back in 15 minutes, and that’s how it started. So 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, pick my kids up.”

Even though his wife, Vanessa Bryant, offered to pick up the little ones, the Olympic athlete turned down the offer. “I was like, ‘No, no, no, I want to do that,’” the late Los Angeles Lakers player said. “You have road trips and times when you don’t see your kids, so every chance I get to see them and spend time with them, even if it’s 20 minutes in a car, I want that.”

Kobe Bryant Explains Why He Flew in a Private Helicopter 2
Vanessa Laine, Kobe Bryant, Natalia Bryant, Gianna Bryant at the world premiere of A Wrinkle in Time in Los Angeles on February 27, 2018. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Related: Kobe Bryant's Fatal Helicopter Crash: Everything We Know

The Philadelphia native’s private chopper crashed in Calabasas, California, on Sunday and caught fire, killing all nine passengers onboard, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. He and the teenager are survived by Vanessa, 37, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.

Kobe Bryant Explains Why He Flew in a Private Helicopter
Kobe Bryant The Corp With A-Rod and Big Cat/YouTube

The late father-daughter pair were on their way to Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, ahead of a game. The Wizenard Series: Training Camp creator coached Gianna’s Athletic Amateur Union team.

He opened up about their dynamic in 2018, telling Entertainment Tonight: “Gianna’s pretty easy to coach. We haven’t had any issues of a dad-daughter sort of thing. She’s very competitive and she’s a hard worker, so there haven’t been any issues with that.”

Related: Look Back at Kobe Bryant's Close Bond With Daughter Gianna: Pics

The former shooting guard retired from the NBA in 2016 after 20 seasons and five championships.

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