Kawhi Leonard, Kobe Bryant Shared Pilot Ara Zobayan
Kawhi Leonard and Kobe Bryant shared pilot Ara Zobayan, Leonard confirmed on Wednesday.
Bryant died in a tragic helicopter accident on Sunday morning, alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.
Zobayan, who piloted the helicopter, also perished in the crash.
In the days after, reports came out that Leonard also used Zobayan to transport him around.
Leonard confirmed this during a recent press conference.
Kawhi Leonard is unsure whether he will continue to use helicopters following the deaths of his friend Kobe Bryant and pilot Ara Zobayan.https://t.co/cNdCCiIcej
— 7Sport (@7Sport) January 29, 2020
“Flown with him a lot,” he said.
“Great guy, super nice, he was one of their best pilots. That’s a guy who you ask for to fly you from city to city. It’s just surreal still for me.
“He’ll drop me off and say he’s about to pick up Kobe. He’ll be like, ‘I just dropped Kobe off, he said, ‘Hello’ ‘ and vice versa. It’s just a crazy interaction. He’s a good dude. I’m sorry for everybody.”
Leonard was then asked if he planned to continue using helicopters to get around, in light of what transpired.
“It’s just one of those times where it’s his time,” Leonard said. “The things that you hear, you don’t know what’s real yet. I can’t really speak on it.
“I don’t know, I don’t know yet. There’s a lot of thoughts in my head.”
Leonard also paused for a moment to offer a thoughtful take on what Bryant meant to him and basketball as a whole.
“I’m a guy who talked to Kobe last year before the season and right after we won [the NBA title] in the locker room,” he said.
“I worked out with him before I went to Toronto, and he was probably the first or second guy we talked to, other than our teammates and family, after we won in the locker room. It’s just that motivation.”
Leonard’s Los Angeles Clippers were set to play the Lakers on Tuesday night, but the game was postponed to give the latter organization a chance to grieve Bryant’s passing.