"My family went through, in the midst of all this, something that I couldn't imagine them experiencing," the former Los Angeles Lakers player said on Tuesday night's episode of Inside the NBA

By Ashley Boucher
January 29, 2020 01:24 AM
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Rick Fox is breaking his silence following rumors he was a victim in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven other people on Sunday.

Fox, 50, shared how the false reports affected his family as he joined Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson, Derek Fisher, and Kenny Smith for a special segment during Tuesday night’s episode of Inside the NBA on TNT.

“My family went through, in the midst of all this, something that I couldn’t imagine them experiencing,” Fox said, adding that it is one of his daughter’s “greatest fears” to find out through social media that one of her parents died.

“She, fortunately, called me and we were just talking and crying about the news of Kobe,” Fox said.

But it was while he was on the phone with her that he began to receive phone call after phone call, which he said he ignored because after hearing the devastating news, he “[wanted] to be with my kids and my family.”

Fox said that someone had told his best friend, King Rice, that he may have been on the helicopter.

“I’m seeing King’s number repeatedly going and going and going, and I think he’s worried about me, so I said, ‘I’m gonna talk to my best friend,’ so I answered and said, ‘Hey man, this is crazy about Kobe,’ and he just was bawling,” he recalled.

Kobe Bryant, Rick Fox
Kobe Bryant, Rick Fox
| Credit: Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock

“And I started crying. And he was like, ‘You’re alive!’ And I was like, ‘Well, yeah. Like what do you mean?’ And it was in that moment that my phone just started going, and my mom and my sister and my brother… This has been a lot to process for all of us.”

“I’m glad that’s over with, but it was hard to deal with because it shook a lot of people in my life,” Fox, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics during his career in the NBA, said.

On Sunday, Fox’s stepdaughter Jillian Hervey tweeted out confirmation that he had not been aboard the helicopter with Kobe.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant
| Credit: Harry How/Getty

“To confirm my stepdad Rick Fox is ALIVE and safe! I just got off the phone with my sister. We are all in shock and deeply saddened but please don’t spread false news. #ripkobe ?,” she wrote. Several sports journalists also confirmed that any reports Fox had died were not true.

Kobe and Gianna were two of nine people to die in Sunday’s helicopter crash that included Christina Mauser, John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah and Payton Chester and pilot Ara Zobayan.

Kobe and Gianna are survived by the player’s wife Vanessa, 37, and his daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.