The Big Game is this weekend (no duh!) and the Big Man is still going to be a part of all the festivities. As part of the parties and events going on in the Miami area for the Super Bowl, Shaq had planned to bring one of his traveling “Fun House” shows to South Florida.
Then came the tragic news that Shaq’s longtime teammate and friend Kobe Bryant died tragically in a helicopter accident last weekend, and Shaq had some doubts about going on with the party. It’s only been in the last day that Shaq decided to continue with the show. Not only that, O’Neal has announced he’ll be donating the proceeds of his Fun House show to the families of the victims of the crash that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant along with seven others. Some of the money will also go to the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation.
As for the party, the Fun House is tonight (Friday, January 31) in Miami. It’s set to feature performances by Pitbull, Diddy, Tiesto, DaBaby and Diplo. Shaq usually does a DJ set as well, as his alter-ego, DJ Diesel.
On social media, Shaq talked about his very difficult decision to move ahead with the party. “Been going back and forth the past couple of days on if I should even have my event in Miami this weekend. Part of me wanted to stay to myself as I reflect what my brother and his family mean to me and my family. But in thinking what would Kobe want, what would he do? Kobe would want us to push through and celebrate life. So let’s do just that.”
Shaq talked about using the proceeds of the show in a helpful way: “I’ll be dedicating and donating all my proceeds from Friday night’s Fun House to all the families who lost loved ones and to the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation. Together we will celebrate all those who lost their lives in Sunday’s tragedy. RIP my brother, my friend and my homie, The Black Mamba. Until we meet again.”
Meanwhile, the investigation continues into the cause of the crash that claimed the lives of Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, along with John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah and Payton Chester and pilot Zara Zobayan.
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the previous post here on the ShaqFu Radio blog on Shaq’s remembrance of Kobe on a special edition of the TNT program Inside the NBA this past Tuesday. Along with TNT NBA commentators Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith, Shaq said the tragedy of losing Kobe “definitely changes me.”
Shaq remembered his last interactions with Kobe, and what he’s going to do to stay connected to friends in the future: “The last time I talked to him was when he was here [Staples Center] and I asked him to get 50 and he got 60. That’s the last time I spoke to him. It definitely changes me. Because I work a lot. You guys know what I do. I work probably more than the average guy. I just really now have to take time and call and say I love you. … I’m gonna try to do a better job of just reaching out and just talking to other people rather than always procrastinating because you never know.”
History: Bryant and O’Neal were teammates from 1996-2004 with the Lakers, winning three championships before famously having a falling out that led to his trade to the Miami Heat. Once bitter rivals, the relationship between O’Neal and Bryant eventually thawed and later became a friendship. At various points during the broadcast, O’Neal described Bryant as a little brother.