Kobe Bryant Was Driven to Fly by Chaotic L.A. Traffic

Kobe Bryant
David McNew/Newsmakers

NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter accident last weekend, spoke openly about L.A.’s horrendous traffic and how that fueled his desire to purchase a helicopter.

In an interview with Barstool Sports in 2018, Bryant spoke about how L.A. traffic was costing him time away from his family.

“Traffic started getting really, really bad,” Bryant explained. “I wound up missing, like, a school play because I was sitting in traffic. I had to figure out a way where I could still train and focus on the craft but still not compromise family time.

“So that’s when I looked into helicopters, to be able to get down and back in 15 minutes, and that’s when it started,” he said.

Indeed, L.A. traffic is some of the worst in the world. According to reports, L.A. drivers lost 128 hours a year sitting idle in the city’s infamous traffic jams. Another report found that only Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York had worse traffic.

Perhaps just as bad as the time away from family, L.A.’s brutal traffic also costs money. According to the reports, the financial repercussions of L.A.’s traffic soared to $9.3 billion in 2018 — or about $1,800 per person.

The clog of L.A. motorist arteries has given rise to one of the nation’s largest helicopter commuter service industries.

The difference in time is stark. A helicopter trip from Irvine to downtown L.A. takes about 25 minutes, the L.A. Times recently reported. On the other hand, a car trip takes close to two hours.

These services, though, are not for the common man. Such trips via helicopter can cost upwards to $5,000 an hour.

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