Following the news that Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash on January 26, the legendary basketball player always “felt very safe” in the chopper and “so did his girls,” a source tells In Touch exclusively.

Prior to the basketball legend’s untimely death, he and his wife, Vanessa Bryant, “made a heartbreaking pact about never flying in helicopters together,” the insider adds. “Of course, neither one of them imagined or could have predicted a tragedy like this happening.”

Kobe Bryant With His Wife and Daughters
Courtesy of Kobe Bryant/Instagram

“Kobe was superstitious to a point. He would do certain things on game nights, things like that,” the source continues. “But the flying pact was just something they decided to do to be safe. They never dwelled on why. It was just something Kobe came up with and Vanessa agreed on. Looking back, it just shows how Kobe was always thinking ahead.”

Unfortunately, Bryant’s life was cut short at just 41 years old when his private helicopter crashed as they were headed to Thousand Oaks, California, for basketball practice at his Mamba Sports Academy. In addition to Bryant and Gianna, 13, pilot Ara Zobayan, Sarah Chester, her daughter, Payton Chester, college baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri Altobelli, and their 13-year-old daughter, Alyssa, were among the other victims of the accident, the L.A. Times reported. The NBA star is survived by Vanessa, 37, and the couple’s other children — Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.

One day before the tragic incident, Bryant coached Gianna and her friends at Mamba Sports Academy. Clearly, the former MVP and his second oldest daughter had an unbreakable bond as he was always at her sporting events.

In fact, Carmelo Anthony paid tribute to the dad of four and revealed their last conversation was about him coaching Gigi. “We were just laughing about how hard you were working Gigi and her teammates, and I told you they needed a day off,” he wrote on Instagram. “This pain is almost unbearable, champ! Why you, bro? Why Gigi? Why leave Vanessa with this sadness and pain? WHY? This will never make sense to me.”

The reason why Bryant flew private in the first place was so he could spend more time with his kiddos. “Traffic started getting really, really bad,” he said in a 2018 interview on “The Corp” podcast. “I had to figure out a way where I could still train and focus on the raft 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.”

Kobe Bryant With His Family at the Kids' Choice Awards
Broadimage/Shutterstock

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