NBA Star, Kobe Bryant Had Long History Of Flying Helicopters
Kobe Bryant had long loved flying his own chopper — even using one in a prank that gave Lakers GM Rob Pelinka the fright of his life.
The future NBA Hall of Famer used his own helicopter to get to Los Angeles Lakers home games during his playing days, and once used one to ferry teammate Steve Blake to a doctor’s appointment, according to a 2012 report by USA Today.
Kobe used a chopper to play a trick on Pelinka, the LA Times reported in 2017.
Bryant had the pilot do military maneuvers on the chopper with Pelinka on board, and even turn the engine off in midair.
“My life was flashing before my eyes,” Pelinka told the newspaper. “I almost had a heart attack. Kobe’s just sitting there calm and collected.”
In a 2009 column by ESPN’s Rick Reilly, Bryant admitted that he liked to charter a chopper to travel the 49 miles from his home to the Staples Center, where the Lakers play.
“Sometimes, there’s just things you cannot miss,” he told Reilly. “Like my daughter’s soccer game. Because what if I miss her first goal?”
Bryant did admit, however, that he never choppered into one of the girl’s games.
And it wasn’t just for convenience — he told GQ magazine in a 2010 interview that the chopper was another way to stay healthy.
The 41-year-old hoops great died in a chopper crash in California Sunday. It is unknown if he was flying the craft or if the helicopter was charged or privately owned.