Over the weekend, rumors were swirling that former Lakers star Rick Fox was a victim in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others.
On Tuesday night’s episode of TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” Fox said, “My family went through, in the midst of all this, something that I couldn’t imagine them experiencing.”
After hearing on social media that Fox died, one of his daughters reached out to learn the truth. He said, “She, fortunately, called me and we were just talking and crying about the news of Kobe.”
Fox also started getting calls from his loved ones, including his best friend King Rice. He shared, “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.”
“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,” Fox added. “I’m glad that’s over with, but it was hard to deal with because it shook a lot of people in my life.”
On Sunday, Fox’s stepdaughter Jillian Hervey shut down the death reports, tweeting, “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 💔.”
Kobe and Fox were teammates for several years and even won a few championships together.
Their teammate Shaquille O’Neal also appeared on “Inside the NBA,” where he shed tears while mourning Kobe’s death. He said, “ The fact that we're not gonna be able to joke during his Hall of Fame ceremony. We're not gonna be able to say, 'Ha, I got five and you got four.' The fact that we we're not gonna be able to say, 'If we could have stayed together we would've got 10.' Those are the things you can't get back. With the loss of my father, my sister... that's the only thing I wish — that I could say something to him.”
Shaq noted that he felt “sick even more” after hearing the reports that Fox was on the plane.