"Every chance I get to see them and spend time with them — even if it's 20 minutes in the car — I want that."
Kobe Bryant didn't fly in a helicopter because he was a celebrity — he flew in one because he was a dad.
A heartbreaking resurfaced interview with the tragic NBA star shows him explaining the simple reason he chose to fly everywhere in LA: to grab an extra few minutes with his kids.
Chatting with Alex Rodriguez and Dan Katz in December 2018, the Laker legend described how he insisted on picking his children up from school and doing after-school activities with them, which he managed to balance with training, until traffic between practice and his home in Newport Beach "started getting really, really bad".
"I winded up missing a school play because I was sitting in traffic," he said. "This thing just kept mounting. And I had to figure out a way where I could still train and focus on the craft, but still not compromise family time."
"So that's when I looked into helicopters, and be able to get down and back in 15 minutes. And that's when it started."
He said his routine was always the same: "Weights early in the morning, kids to school, fly down, practice like crazy, do my extra work, media, everything I needed to do, fly back, get back in the carpool line, pick the kids up."
"And my wife was like 'listen, I can pick them up.' I'm like 'no no no — I wanna do that.'
"Because you know, you have road trips and times where you don't see your kids, man. So like every chance I get to see them and spend time with them — even if it's 20 minutes in the car — I want that."
On Sunday, the 41-year-old was killed along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, as it made its way to a practice session at Kobe's Mamba Academy.