Kevin Hart interrupted a pre-Super Bowl party and urged fans to ‘celebrate life’ in his touching tribute to the late Kobe Bryant.
Kevin Hart, 40, is deeply mourning the loss of Kobe Bryant, who tragically lost his life at 41 years old on Sunday, Jan. 26, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. “I just want to keep everybody in a positive, amazing place,” the comedian began, taking the mic at Fanatics’ pre-Super Bowl party in Miami, Florida on Saturday, Feb. 1. “And celebrate life today, goddamnit. If you love Kobe Bryant, this is a day to spread his positivity through the air. It’s love. Let’s be f******* connected on the highest level,” Kevin continued, surrounded by fans wearing Kobe’s #8 and #24 Lakers jerseys.
“We lost a legend but we want to make sure that legend lives on forever and it starts with us remembering one thing and that’s equality,” Kevin urged the party attendees at Loews Miami Beach Hotel. “Let’s feast. Let’s love. This room is an example of it. Hold that example HIGH. You hear me? Live, love and laugh.” He finished the touching tribute expressing his love for the basketball star. “Kobe rest in peace, we love you. Continue the night, that’s all guys.” At one point, Kevin stood in front of the crowd as he held up a #24 jersey.
Kobe’s former teammate Shaquille O’Neal, 47, also took the stage to pay tribute. Alongside party host Michael Rubin, Shaq asked the crowed to put up two and four fingers for Kobe’s signature number. A live sand sculpture was also on display during the event, with the completed version showing featuring both of Kobe’s jerseys, along with a football that read “Gianna.” The star-studded bash featured a number of celebrity performances, including The Chainsmokers and Post Malone — all rocking Kobe’s jerseys as tribute — along with a medley by Migos. Other guests in attendance included Dwyane Wade, Scooter Braun, and Alicia Keys‘ husband Swizz Beatz, who kept the crowd moving with an energetic DJ set.
Kevin’s moving speech comes just a day after the Los Angeles Lakers tremendous tribute to their former star at Staples Center. Usher, Wiz Khalifa and Boyz II Men all appeared at the venue — often dubbed “the house that Kobe built” — for live performances coinciding with an eight-minute highlight reel of Kobe’s astonishing accomplishments. LeBron James also took the mic to address “Laker nation” directly. “Tonight we celebrate the kid who came here at 18 years of age, retired at 38 and became probably the best dad we’ve seen over the last three years,” he said, visibly distraught. “In the words of Kobe, ‘Mamba Out,’ but in the words of us, ‘Not Forgotten.’ Live on, brother.”