Rick Fox is addressing the whirlwind of emotions he and his family felt after rumors surfaced that he died alongside Kobe Bryant in the tragic helicopter crash. On Tuesday, January 28, the retired Lakers star recalled the concerning phone calls he received from his loved ones.
While appearing on Inside the NBA on TNT, the 50-year-old broke his silence about the situation. “My family went through, in the midst of all this, something that I couldn’t imagine them experiencing,” he began.
The Game alum explained that his best friend, King Rice, called his phone repeatedly to ensure that he was alive. “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 explained.
He 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.”
On Sunday, January 26, Rick’s stepdaughter, Jillian Hervey, confirmed on Twitter that her stepfather was not aboard the helicopter with Kobe. “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.
That same day, OK! reported that Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were two of nine people that died in the devastating helicopter crash.
Following the news, former Lakers player, Magic Johnson, shared his condolences to social media.
“My friend, a legend, husband, father, son, brother, Oscar winner and greatest Laker of all-time is gone. It’s hard to accept. Kobe was a leader of our game, a mentor to both male and female players,” he wrote to Twitter. “I'm in disbelief and have been crying all morning over this devastating news that Kobe and his young daughter, Gigi have passed away in a helicopter crash.”