Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash Sunday. Rick Fox – who played with Bryant on the Lakers – was not on board.
But a rumor emerged that Fox also perished in the crash.
Fox explained how difficult that was to handle, including a conversation with Monmouth head coach King Rice.
Fox on TNT:
One of my daughter’s greatest fears is finding out that a parent or one of her parent’s would be lost through social media instead of from a loved one or a family member. And she fortunately called me, and we just were talking, crying about the news of Kobe. And my son. We started – we were talking. I was talking to my kids trying to spend the time with them.
Then, the phone just started going off. And I’m thinking to myself, “Everybody wants to talk about Kobe. And I right now want to be with my kids and my family.” And then all of a sudden, my best friend, King Rice, who’s a basketball coach.
He walked off the court at Iona, and somebody apparently told him that I have may have been on the helicopter. And he started calling. So, I’m seeing King’s number repeatedly going and going and going and think he’s worried about. So, I said I’m going to talk to my best friend. And I answered it, and I said, “Hey, man. This is crazy about Kobe.” And he just was bawling. And I started crying. And he’s like, “You’re alive.” And I’m thinking, “Well, yeah. What do you mean?”
And it was in that moment, my phone just started going. And my mom and my sister and my brother.
And so, look, this has been a lot to process for all of us. Quite frankly, we’re blessed to have had the time we had with Kobe. A city is mourning. A family is mourning. We’re all morning. And I’m glad that’s over with. But it was hard to deal with, because it shook a lot of people in my life.
Shame on whomever started the rumor. Shame on whomever spread it as fact.