As the story broke about the fatal helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his second oldest daughter Gianna and seven others, rumors spread that former NBA star Rick Fox was also a passenger on that ill-fated flight.
Fox said that the false reports scared his family and friends.
“My family went through, in the midst of all this, something that I couldn’t imagine them experiencing,” Fox said during TNT’s special Tuesday night episode of Inside the NBA.
The former Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics small forward said that hearing via social media that one of her parents died is one of his daughter’s “greatest fears,” he added.
“I’m glad that’s over with,” Fox continued. “But it was hard to deal with because it shook a lot of people in my life.”
The basketball player-turned-actor described how while on the phone with his daughter his phone lit up with calls from loved ones, including his best friend, King Rice. During the episode, Fox said he ignored all the calls, took a moment to process the tragic events and be with family. But after seeing Rice’s number repeatedly pop up, Fox let his friend know that he was OK.
By Sunday afternoon, Fox’s stepdaughter singer Jillian Hervey (known as Lion Babe in her music career) tweeted out that Fox wasn’t a passenger on the fateful helicopter.
She wrote: “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.”