Along with having a personal relationship with Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard said he had flown with the pilot of the helicopter crash that killed nine people, including Bryant "a lot" and called Ara Zobayan a "great guy."
"He was one of the best pilots," Leonard said about Zabayan at Wednesday's LA Clippers practice. "That's the guy who you ask for to fly you from city to city."
Leonard said that Zabayan would often drop him off and tell him that he was going to pick up Bryant and pass on hellos between the two stars.
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Leonard added, "He's a good dude, and I'm sorry for everybody."
The Clippers' star said that he had spoken to Bryant about helicopter travel and where to live prior to moving to LA. Leonard said Bryant told him that he had been commuting via helicopter for 17 years or so.
Leonard said that Bryant's setup for getting in for games was extremely similar to how operated.
When asked if the accident had given him any pause about using helicopter travel as a regular mode of transportation, Leonard said, "It was just one of those times where it was his time...I can't really speak on that. I don't know yet. There are a lot of thoughts in my head."
Zobayan had also flown other celebrities, including Kyle Jenner.
"That was the helicopter I would fly on from time to time with that pilot, Ara," Jenner said in her Instagram story Monday. "He was such a nice man."
"He was not your typical egotistical helicopter pilot like most of us honestly are. Ara was a man that always remained cool, calm and collected," Jared Yochim, a friend of Zobayan, said on Facebook.
Yochim added, "The loss is not mine, but a community really. Ara impacted so many people and only in a positive way. I'm sorry that you never got to meet him. You would've loved him, I promise."