Initial reports of Sunday's tragedy were dicey at first. Once Kobe's death was confirmed, the identity of the other victims was largely speculative.
Some reports stated the entire Kobe family was on that plane while others named Rick Fox as a passenger.
In an appearance on TNT's NBA Overtime, the former Lakers star opened up about his experience offering condolences to those who lost someone in the crash.
“My family went through, in the midst of all this, something that I couldn’t imagine them experiencing,” Fox said, adding that it is one of his daughter’s “greatest fears” to find out through social media that one of her parents died.
“She, fortunately, called me and we were just talking and crying about the news of Kobe,” Fox said.
Although Fox was fortunate enough to have not been in the chopper that day, the impact of the rumors was not easy to deal with.
“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,” he recalled.
“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.”
“I’m glad that’s over with, but it was hard to deal with because it shook a lot of people in my life,” Fox, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics during his career in the NBA, said.
Of course, this speaks to the danger that comes with false reports. Often times the media can get carried away in finding the full story that they can create it on their own.
Fox was a close friend of Bryant's and he is no doubt shaken up at the news of his death. But for his family, who (even if for a moment) thought Fox was gone too, that won't be a moment they'll soon forget.