Kevin Hart is remembering an eye-opening experience he had with his late pal, Kobe Bryant. The 41-year-old actor appeared on Wednesday’s episode of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and recalled attending the same basketball camp as Bryant when they were younger.
Up until he attended the camp, Hart dreamed of being a professional basketball player, but two things ended up dashing that dream.
“I stopped growing, Jimmy. If you want to be honest, that’s one of the reasons,” the 5’4″ actor quipped, before revealing how Bryant also played a role in the end of his pro-athlete aspirations.
“I went to basketball camp with Kobe Bryant. I swear to god, I went to camp with Kobe Bryant,” he shared. “… When I went to the camp with Kobe Bryant… this was when I realized my talent was not good, when I saw how good Kobe was.”
Bryant’s legendary talent was on display at the camp, even though he was playing with a major handicap the whole time.
“He played left handed. He did the whole basketball camp left handed,” Hart said of the right handed athlete. “[It was an] invitation only-style basketball camp and I just wasn’t good. I was mad at myself because I sold myself this dream and this dream just wasn’t a reality because this man played left handed, didn’t even take it serious. He didn’t even take it serious, Jimmy.”
“Kobe showed me I did not have talent and [I] gave up,” he continued. “… [He played] the whole camp left handed. He was the best player at the camp and just practicing on his left hand, apparently.”
Even when Bryant was playing with his non-dominant hand, Hart said he saw his pal would “transform into the machine that he was and that he will forever be remembered as.”
“I just think back to that basketball camp when I thought I had the same opportunity and realized I didn’t. I wasn’t s**t, Jimmy. I was horrible. They should have thrown me in the trash at that camp, that’s what they should have did. I didn’t have what it takes. OK, Jimmy? I was bad,” Hart admitted. “… My mom wasted money on that camp. She should have never sent me to that camp. We could have used that [money]. I’m blaming her for letting me keep this hoop dream that I had. A ridiculous dream.”
In addition to attending the camp together, Hart and Bryant were roommates throughout their time there.
“We had a blast,” Hart recalled. “It was an overnight camp and you’re kids, all the silliness that normally ensues, ensued — late-night pranks, and sneaking into other people’s dorms, and fighting with the other campers. We did all that stuff.”
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died tragically in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. He was 41.
Here’s more on the impact Bryant’s life had on those around him.