Shaq to donate Super Bowl event proceeds to Bryants’ family foundation
Shaquille O’Neal has announced that he will donate all the proceeds from an event he’s hosting during Super Bowl Week in Miami to the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation as well as the families who lost loved ones in Sunday’s tragic helicopter crash.
The event, Shaq’s Fun House, is scheduled for Friday night. The festival is part of the buildup to Super Bowl LIV on Sunday. It will feature the likes of Diddy, Diplo and Pitbull, among others.
O’Neal made the announcement that he will donate all event proceeds to the Bryants’ foundation via a statement shared on Twitter.
pic.twitter.com/T2rf0u9LlC— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 29, 2020
“Been going back and forth the past couple of days on if I should even have my event in Miami this weekend,” O’Neal wrote in the message. “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.
“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.”
O’Neal has been understandably distraught in the immediate days after his onetime Lakers teammate and friend tragically died Sunday in a helicopter crash along with eight others, including Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna. His pain was evident during Tuesday’s edition of “Inside the NBA” on TNT.
“I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while.. it definitely changes me.”’@SHAQ on the loss of his brother, Kobe. pic.twitter.com/dM5i0DDgGK— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 29, 2020
The fact that O’Neal wanted to donate his Super Bowl party’s proceeds to the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation resonates with his tweet in the wake of Kobe’s death about his friend being a family man.
Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gigi was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah. pic.twitter.com/BHBPN5Wq8V— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020
The devastation felt by those closest to Bryant is palatable, and his tragic death at the age of 41 has left the NBA community — not to mention the world beyond the game of basketball — stunned. O’Neal deserves a lot of credit for overcoming his grief to make a gesture that there is no doubt Kobe would have appreciated.