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Kobe and Vanessa Bryant "had a deal that they would never fly on a helicopter together," says source

Despite hiring the best of the best for his air travels, Kobe reportedly went one step further to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

Kobe and Vanessa Bryant "had a deal that they would never fly on a helicopter together," says source
Image Source: Vanessa Laine Bryant (L) and Kobe Bryant attend the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

A devastating helicopter crash claimed the life of one of the greatest NBA stars of all time, Kobe Bryant. The former LA Lakers player died alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant while on the way to a youth basketball game where the teen was expected to play. According to CNN, Kobe—a well-documented fan of helicopter travel—was flying in his preferred model, Sikorsky S-76B, at the time of the crash. The NBA legend is said to have been partial to this specific aircraft as it has a strong record of reliability.

Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant watch during day 2 of the Phillips 66 National Swimming Championships at the Woollett Aquatics Center on July 26, 2018, in Irvine, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Kobe, who previously revealed that he began using helicopters to spend more time with his family, took no chances when it came to flying. Apart from being partial to the S-76 for its reliability, he reportedly only flew with pilot Ara Zobayan, who was also killed in the crash. As per the FAA's pilot certification database, the deceased pilot is an instrument-certified pilot who earned his commercial pilot's license in 2007 and was up to date on FAA-required annual medical exams, reports CNN. "There's a reason that people wanted to fly with him. He was just a cool, calm guy," said Zobayan's fellow pilot Jared Yochim.



 

Despite hiring the best of the best for his air travels, a source told PEOPLE that Kobe went one step further to prepare for the worst-case scenario. The late 41-year-old and his wife Vanessa Bryant reportedly made it a point not to fly together. "He and Vanessa had a deal that they would never fly on a helicopter together," said the source. Following the tragedy on Sunday, Kobe is survived by Vanessa and their 3 daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, who was born in June last year.



 

During a 2010 GQ interview, Kobe said he took a private helicopter from his Orange County home to every home game in Los Angeles' Staples Center in an attempt to maintain his body. "Given his broken finger, his fragile knees, his sore back, and achy feet, not to mention his chronic agita, Bryant can't sit in a car for two hours. The helicopter, therefore, ensures that he gets to Staples Center feeling fresh," the article said.



 

However, speaking to former baseball star Alex Rodriguez in 2018, the basketball legend admitted he preferred taking the helicopter as it gave him more time with his family. "I had to figure out a way where I could still train and focus on the craft but still not compromise family time. That's when I looked into helicopters and to be able to get down and back in 15 minutes and that's when it started. So my 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," he said.



 

Kobe added that although Vanessa once offered to pick up the kids from school, he insisted on doing it himself. "No, no, no, I want to do that," he said he told his wife. "Because you have road trips and times when you don't see your kids, so 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 added.



 

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