Throughout the NBA season, comedian and Philadelphia native Kevin Hart has been one of the Sixers' biggest boosters. But after the team's 113-103 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of their first-round NBA playoff series Monday night, fans might prefer Hart stay home for Game 3 in Miami on Thursday.
Heat star Dwyane Wade had his best playoff performance in years with 28 points, seven rebounds and two steals, including one late in the fourth quarter that coach Brett Brown credited as changing the game. My colleague Sarah Todd wrote that Wade's performance "made everyone think it was 2006."
"I've been on the other end of a lot of his big games," Sixers guard JJ Redick said after the game. "He is one of the all-time greats. As he showed tonight, he still has it."
After the game, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne asked Wade what prompted the surprising performance, and the NBA star offered a simple and direct response: "Kevin Hart."
Shelburne seemed a bit taken aback by Wade's reaction, asking, "Kevin Hart? Really?"
"Yup. You can thank Kevin Hart for that," Wade responded.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Wade again mentioned Hart as a main motivating factor Monday night. He also clarified that none of his anger was directed at Sixers great Allen Iverson, who happened to be sitting next to the comedian.
"It's a great feeling when you go into that bag. Especially when you're on the road, when you got people like Kevin Hart talking on the sideline," Wade said. "I heard a lot of things tonight, and it's all just used as motivation. To be able to hush a whole crowd — that's a great feeling. That's a feeling I hope my son feels one day."
It's not clear what Hart said to Wade during the game, but he was spotted during pregame warmups joking and talking trash to various Heat players.
There were also several moments during the game that the comedian jawed with the three-time NBA champion:
The back-and-forth between Wade and Hart continued on Twitter into the early hours of Tuesday morning, with Hart suggesting he'll be courtside for Game 3 in Miami on Thursday night.
Of course, Wade had a response:
This isn't the first time Hart made news from the sidelines. After the Eagles' Super Bowl win, an intoxicated Hart attempted to join the team on the stage, only to be soundly rejected by a security guard. He was later escorted off the set of the NFL Network by Hall of Famer Deion Sanders after dropping an f-bomb on live television.
"When alcohol is in your system, you do dumb stuff," Hart said on Instagram after that incident. "Me trying to go on stage with the trophy [is] definitely in the top two stupidest things I've ever done, but who cares? The Eagles won the Super Bowl."