Kevin Hart Recalls How His Camp Days With Kobe Bryant Crushed His Basketball Dream

Before he was a world-famous comedian, Kevin Hart had dreams of becoming a pro basketball player—until he went to basketball camp with the late legend Kobe Bryant.

By Samantha Schnurr Sep 10, 2020 3:59 PMTags
Watch: Remembering Kobe Bryant's Journey: E! News Rewind

For Kevin Hart, going to basketball camp with Kobe Bryant was a blessing in disguise.

That's because the experience, paired with the fact that he "stopped growing" (in Hart's words), quickly made the comedian realize his pro basketball dreams were likely not going to come to fruition. As the blockbuster star recalled in a remote interview with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show Wednesday, Sept. 9, he and the late basketball icon were roommates, but were on two different levels when it came to the sport

"I went to basketball camp with Kobe Bryant...that's when I knew I wasn't s--t," Hart candidly recalled. "When I went to the camp with Kobe Bryant...this was when I realized that my talent was not good when I saw how good Kobe was. He played left-handed."

Hart was critical of his past self, telling Fallon, "I just wasn't good and 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."

Meanwhile, Bryant "was the best player at the camp," the star said, "and he was just practicing on his left hand apparently."

Kobe Bryant's Family Album

Following Bryant's tragic death in January, the memories are even more touching. "Kobe Bryant, RIP to being himself. Rest in peace to the legend," Hart said. "Thank god because Kobe showed me that I did not have talent in a game that I thought that I did."

Despite his crushed basketball dreams, it sounds like Hart still had fun. "We had a blast," he said, recalling the late-night pranks and sneaking into other campers' rooms. Simultaneously, he was witnessing the progress of a soon-to-be legendary athlete. 

"I saw Kobe transform into the machine that he was and that he will forever be remembered as," he said. "I just think back to that basketball camp when I thought that I had the same opportunity and realized I didn't."

The Celebrity Game Face host continued to criticize his own skills, telling Fallon, "I was horrible. They should have threw me in the trash at that camp."

"My mom wasted money on that camp," he added. "We could have used that money for something else."

To hear Hart hilariously tell the story himself, check out the video above!

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

Watch a new episode of Celebrity Game Face Thursdays at 9 p.m., only on E!.