Kobe Bryant's passing was tragically plagued with misinformation that implicated the death of other people. During a special episode of TNT's Inside the NBA, Rick Fox opened up about the rumors claiming that he was on the helicopter with Bryant and the other victims.
"My family went through, in the midst of all this, something that I couldn’t imagine them experiencing," Fox said. The former Laker went on to explain that he didn't know about the rumors surrounding his death because he was spending that time talking to his family and reflecting on Kobe's life.
"I was talking to my kids just trying to spend time with them and the phone just started going off," Fox recalls. "I'm thinking to myself, 'Everyone wants to talk about Kobe and I right now want to be with my kids and family.'"
Fox stayed away from his phone until he saw that his best friend, King Rice, was calling him repeatedly. This prompted him to pick up the phone in an attempt to console his friend about Kobe's death. It wasn't until then that Fox heard about the false reports.
"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," Fox continued. "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."
Fox and his family quickly corrected the false reports, but Fox admits that the whole affair took its toll on his family.
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 💔 pic.twitter.com/vGSAShagkk
"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 said.
Rick Fox played with Kobe from 1997 to 2004. He was a part of Kobe and Shaq's initial championship run, winning three NBA titles with the duo.