Shaquille O'Neal hosted his annual Shaq's Fun House Super Bowl party on Friday night, kicking off the weekend with festivities. The retired NBA star was still grieving the deaths of Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna, and he used the event to raise money for the MambaOnThree Fund. O'Neal spoke with Entertainment Tonight on Friday night and delivered a message to Bryant's children.
"Babies, they don't call me 'Uncle Shaq' for a (sic) reason," O'Neal said during his interview. "You call me up, you find me – I'm not hard to find – I'll do whatever y'all need."
As O'Neal previously explained, he would use this event in Miami to show support for the victims' families and the Kobe Bryant Foundation. He was planning on donating all of the proceeds in honor of those that had lost loved ones. He had originally contemplated canceling the Friday night event, but O'Neal felt that his former teammate would want him to push through and celebrate life.
O'Neal performed as DJ Diesel during the party and honored the memory of Bryant several times. He shouted "If you love Kobe Bryant put your hands up!" to the crowd and also had them hold up Bryant's number, 24, with their fingers.
To further pay tribute to Bryant, O'Neal's event also featured a Rolls Royce adorned with images of Bryant. The blacked-out luxury vehicle had a purple mamba running the entire length of the car, as well as a photo of Bryant on the side. Additionally, there was an image on the hood that showed O'Neal and Bryant standing together in their Lakers' uniforms.
O'Neal and Bryant were teammates on the Lakers team that won NBA Titles in 2000-2002. They occasionally butted heads on the court, but remained friends. O'Neal also viewed 13-year-old Gianna Bryant as his niece.
The NBA Hall of Famer explained to reporters that he and Bryant are forever tied together. He believes that they are the best duo in league history despite some differences. They also reconciled following their time together in Los Angeles.
O'Neal had made it very clear that he will never forget Bryant, nor will fans of the 18-time All-Star. He expects that future generations learning to play basketball will know Bryant's name, and they will use him as inspiration on the court.0comments
For now, however, O'Neal will be helping out Bryant's children any way that he can. Whatever they need, he will be there to provide it.
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