Kobe Bryant's former Lakers teammate Rick Fox raised false reports that he was one of the nine people who died in the Sunday helicopter crash and killed the NBA legend.
Fox discussed his family's response after several early reports suggested that Fox was on board the helicopter at the time of the crash. Five people were initially believed dead, and it wasn't long before NBA TV's Jared Greenberg tweeted him communicated with Fox that the NBA veteran was excluded.
"My family went through something in the middle of everything I can't imagine," said an emotional fox on Tuesday during TNT's NBA reporting. "One of my daughter's biggest fears is finding out that one of her parents got lost through social media instead of a loved one or family member. Luckily she called me and we were just talking about the news from Kobe and cried. "
Fox spent seven seasons as Bryant's teammate with the Lakers and led LA to three NBA championships in the early 2000s. The duo stayed close after Fox retired from basketball in 2004.
The 50-year-old said he was speaking to his daughter, who had no knowledge of reports of her father's death, when his phone was flooded with calls. Distraught by the news of Bryant's death, Fox said he did not answer calls until he noticed that a close friend and basketball coach, King Rice, reached out.
"I see King's number going and going and going, so I think he's worried about me. So I said, 'I'll talk to my best friend', so I replied and said, 'Hey man, this is crazy about Kobe and he just roared,' said Fox.
"He said:" You are alive! "And I said," Well, yes. What do you mean by that? "And at that moment my phone came on and my mother, sister and brother [were calling],
"I'm happy [the rumor] is over, but it was hard to deal with because it shook a lot of people in my life. "
Fox was part of a star-studded jury on Tuesday, which included hosts Shaquille O & # 39; Neal, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson. Dwyane Wade and Derek Fisher were also present to discuss Bryant's legacy and death.
After reliving Sunday's traumatic experience, it was Fox given a playful warning by his former teammate "Shaq".
"I'm glad you're okay," O & # 39; Neal said to Fox. "But the next time I call you and you don't call me back, I'll put those hands on you."