Rick Fox is not dead. The Ex-Laker was not on board the helicopter that killed Kobe Bryant in Calabasas, California, on January 26. Fox’s representative Jessica Steindorff confirmed to Heavy.com in an email that he had not been killed.
Fox’s daughter confirmed to WEEI’s Courtney Fallon that the Canadian-born former NBA star is alive. NBA TV’s Jared Greenberg also tweeted that he had communicated with Fox and confirmed he was not on board in the aftermath of the crash that killed Bryant.
ESPN and ABC News had earlier reported that Fox was on board the helicopter. It has been confirmed that Bryant’s daughter, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, was on board.
During his 13-year career in the NBA, Fox won three championships, playing with Kobe Bryant and Larry Bird.
Bryant Credited Fox With Giving Him Some of His Most Important Career Advice
Prior to his 2016 retirement, Bryant told ESPN about a memorable interaction he had with Fox during the Lakers’ championship laden years. Bryant said:
Honestly, I remember Rick Fox said something in a meeting that stuck with me forever. Because we were having a discussion and he said, ‘Kobe, we just want to feel like you’re a part of us.’ And I never looked at it that way.
I thought, ‘What do you mean? I am. I’m practicing hard every single day.’ But that’s not what he meant. For me, stop being an a–h— really meant you’ve got to start approaching the game on a human level and understand that we are people and we need to have that connection versus this hard drive all the time.
Because no matter how skillful you are, it’s an emotional game. If you don’t have that emotional connectivity with somebody or with a group, you’re not going to get at your highest level of potential.
Following Bryant’s final game in April 2016, he immediately embraced Fox along with Shaquille O’Neal, Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom on the court.
Bryant paid further tribute to Fox in June 2016 when asked about what made the Canadian so special. Bryant said, “Rick’s intensity was always on a high level. He paid attention to every little detail. When we were winning all those championships, he was our defensive guy. I used to watch how he used his body position and his footwork. I think the intensity he brought to our team helped us tremendously.”
Fox Called Bryant’s Impact on Basketball ‘Immortal’ in 2016
Fox told The Sportster in 2016 his favorite thing about Bryant was “championships.” In February 2016, Fox tweeted of Bryant, “Basketball is immortal and so is @kobebryant impact on the game of basketball! #ImmortalMamba.”