MIAMI, Fla. – Following the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, friend and former teammate Shaquille O'Neal announced that he would be donating the proceeds from his annual Super Bowl party to families that lost loved ones in the tragedy.
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gigi, were among the nine people who died when the helicopter they were on went down in Southern California on Sunday.
Wednesday morning, Shaq wrote on Twitter that he had been grappling whether or not to even go through with “Fun House” event in Miami.
“Part of me wanted to stay to myself as I reflect what my brother and his family mean to me and my family,” wrote Shaq. “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 went on to say that he will be dedicating and donating all the proceeds from the Friday night event 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,” Shaq wrote. “RIP my brother, my friend and my homie, The Black Mamba. Until we meet again.”
Shaq’s announcement came the same day that Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, made her first public statement following the crash. In an Instagram post, she wrote about how she and her three surviving daughters are grieving.
In the same post, Vanessa went on to announce that her “Team Mamba” family has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to support the other families affected by the tragedy.
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My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org. To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org. Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family ❤️