Kobe Bryant, 41, his daughter, Gianna Bryant, 13, and seven others perished after the S-76 chopper they were in slammed into a steep hill outside Calabasas, California on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Flight records revealed that the same helicopter made 42 trips around the Orange County, California, area since Jan. 1.
On the morning of Jan. 26, thick fog surrounded the Los Angeles area, which caused both the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to ground their helicopter fleets, according to the Los Angeles Times. However, the pilot who flew Bryant was cleared to fly that morning and was certified to train others in flying helicopters in poor conditions.
Before the crash, it became common for Bryant to use helicopters to travel. Due to Los Angeles’ horrid traffic, Bryant realized that he would often miss out on important moments.
“Traffic would be really bad, and one day I was sitting in traffic and I missed a school play,” he said during an interview with former Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez in 2018. “I had to figure out a way to train and focus on the craft and still not compromise family time. That’s when I looked into helicopters and being able to fly down and back in 15 minutes. You have road trips where you didn’t get a chance to see your kids. So every chance I get to spend with them, I want that.”
In his final years as an NBA player, Bryant made it a point to focus on spending time with family.