Shaquille O’Neal on Kobe Bryant: 'We love you, brother'
Saturday, 1 February 2020
MIAMI (AP) — Shaquille O’Neal paid tribute to his friend and former teammate, Kobe Bryant, with one of their shared favorite hobbies: music.
O’Neal, who moonlights as DJ Diesel, brought his carnival-themed event “Shaq’s Fun House” to Miami on Friday night ahead of the Super Bowl, telling the audience: “Put your cellphone lights on. We gone light this (expletive) up one last time for Kobe Bryant.”
Standing from behind a soundboard, O’Neal then played Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” A large purple-and-yellow banner featuring Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers numbers — 8 and 24 — hung from the ceiling as O’Neal dedicated several moments of his set to the basketball legend, who also recorded music.
“We miss you Kobe Bryant,” he said, holding his hands up and looking to the ceiling. “Put your hands up for Kobe Bryant. We love you, brother.”
Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash Jan. 26. Days after, O’Neal said he would go on with his planned pre-Super Bowl party in Miami but would dedicate all the proceeds to the families of the victims and the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation.
“I’m gonna always remember his memory because we’re forever linked,” O’Neal told The Associated Press in an interview before he performed. “I lost a sister, lost a father — whenever you lose somebody that’s super-important. It’s always gonna be heavy on the heart.”
The duo teamed to help the Lakers with three straight championships from 2000-02.
Hours before O’Neal’s event, the Lakers had its first game since Bryant’s death and honored the star player. LeBron James, wiping his eyes as the national anthem ended, and other players wore Bryant jerseys while Boyz II Men and Usher performed.
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