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Shaquille O’Neal debated canceling his Super Bowl party in Miami, but instead will donate all proceeds from the event to families of the nine victims in the California helicopter crash.
O’Neal shared on social media Wednesday:
“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. I'll be dedicating and donating all my proceeds from Friday nights 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’s friend and former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in the crash. John Altobelli, the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College; his wife, Keri; and their daughter, Alyssa; Sarah and her daughter, Payton; assistant coach Christina Mauser; and pilot Ara Zobayan also died.
The group was traveling in a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter to basketball games at the Mamba Academy.
Officials retrieved all nine bodies Monday and Tuesday from the “devastating” crash site in the hills of Calabasas, California. National Transportation Safety Board officials are still investigating and expect to have a report in 10 days. They said Tuesday the helicopter was not equipped with a terrain alert system that would have told the pilot a hill was coming.
O’Neal was brought to tears Tuesday night while remembering his friend on a special “NBA on TNT” tribute show. He is hosting his annual “Shaq’s Fun House” part for the Super Bowl on Friday. It includes food, concerts and a carnival midway.
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