It's a Saturday afternoon during NBA All-Star Weekend, and Kevin Hart is working the crowd at Mountain Dew's massive outdoor studio space. He's on the microphone, freestyling jokes and setting the stage for what would be a hilarious panel discussion with NBA superstars Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook. That's what Kevin does, and today he’s in rare form.
Like the athletes participating in this weekend's events, the 38-year-old entertainment mogul is at the top of his game. With billions grossed at the box office, sold out arenas around the world, and the world at his feet, Hart is an All-Star in his own right—and everyone at the Mountain Dew studio is there to watch him work.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
If you could dunk on anyone in the NBA, who would it be and why?
The question should be: "If you could dunk on someone in the NBA again, who would it be?" The answer is Chris Paul. Nobody knows this, but I dunked on Chris Paul in our backyard playing the game of get up. He didn’t think I would get up and he got down because I got up. True story.
Are there pictures to confirm this?
Pictures-smictures. Everybody wants the proof but I’m telling you what happened. It’s a fact.
If you’re the owner of a new NBA franchise, who would you build your team around?
Is myself included? Can I play for my team?
Of course I would build a team around me, a team understands that I need to ball at all times!
Start, bench, trade: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant.
You gotta start Michael Jordan. I’m gonna trade LeBron because you’re gonna get a lot for him. And I hate to say it but I gotta bench Kobe.
Does James Harden make it into the Philly beard Hall of Fame?
James Harden has one of the best beards I’ve ever seen in my life. At this point, I think someone is living inside the beard. I’ve never seen a beard that well-manicured.
Describe your dream flavor collab with Mountain Dew.
It’s going to shock people, a black man saying this—anything with grape. As a black man, I would take grape and do as much as I possibly can with it. If I can have a good 13 different variations of grape—especially during Black History Month—I think I would come up with a nice concoction.