Kobe Bryant helicopter tales: Scaring Pelinca, flying Blake to doctor

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who died in a crash on Sunday, loved flying his own chopper.

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday.   -  FILE PHOTO/ REUTERS


Kobe Bryant loved to fly his own chopper. He would often fly to the Los Angeles Lakers home games in his playing days. The NBA star was a generous man. Once, he even let team-mate Steve Blake use his ride to go to a doctor.

In 2012, Blake had suffered an abdominal strain at training. It was Bryant who flew him out to the Orange County for treatment. He would often justify his aerial movements citing the health benefits. According to a 2010 GQ profile, Bryant used the helicopter as a tool to maintain his body. Due to a string of injuries — broken finger, fragile knees and sore back — it was hard him for him to sit in a car for over two hours. It helped him stay fresh for the game.

Kobe, the prankster

In 2017, LA Times had reported that Kobe used a chopper to play a prank on Lakers’ GM Rob Pelinca. He had asked the pilot to do military maneuvers and even turn the engine off for some seconds.

“My life was flashing before my eyes. I almost had a heart attack. Kobe’s just sitting there calm and collected,” Pelinca had told the newspaper.

On Sunday, Bryant was travelling with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other passengers and crew when their Sikorsky S-76 helicopter slammed into a rugged hillside in Calabasas, west of Los Angeles. There were no survivors.

The tragedy has shaken the global sporting fraternity.

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