COMMENTARY: JJ Watt honors Kobe Bryant with a simple nostalgic gesture of shooting a wadded up piece of paper on ‘SNL’

Houston Texans star JJ Watt hosts Saturday Night Live. (KPRC)

HOUSTON – The final seconds of the 'Saturday Night Live" were the icing on the cake of a fantastic performance.

As we all know, less than a week before Saturday’s show, NBA legend Kobe Bryant and eight others were killed in a tragic helicopter crash.

Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt, the show’s guest host, ended the show wearing a Lakers No. 24 jersey to honor the basketball giant. He didn’t just sport the jersey, he balled up a piece of paper and threw it.

That was the last camera shot of the show before it broke to commercials.

If you are a ‘90s or 2000s kid, you understand. Growing up, we all yelled “Kobe” when we would throw paper in the trash can at school. It was a small gesture by Watt, but the perfect way to end a great night.

Going into the latest “Saturday Night Live” episode, we knew a few things about J.J. Watt.

He’s one of the greatest defensive ends the NFL has ever seen. He has a huge heart, raising millions for Hurricane Harvey victims.

As a media member, I know Watt is great with reporters and always gives us thorough answers.

But none of that guarantees a smooth comedic performance on the nation’s biggest stage.

How did Watt perform?

Watt rocked it. He was more than just funny.

The NFL superstar did something that a lot of athletes are not willing to do. He tried something new and put himself out there. He made raunchy jokes, poked fun at himself and his family, and made it clear he would rather be playing in the Super Bowl than hosting the show.

In today’s environment, athletes tend to be extremely protective of themselves and their brands. That makes sense when everyone wants you and wants something from you, boundaries are important.

Watt showed a side of him that the public has not seen.

And for those who think hosting “SNL” would be easy? Think again.

It’s timing, it’s tone, and it’s knowing the script well enough so you don’t always have to look at the teleprompter. There was no guarantee this would go over well, as plenty of athletes have had less than stellar hosting and acting gigs.

But Watt showed his versatility, his light-hearted nature and took a creative risk.

He was funny, and the show was a total success.

Click here to check the best sketches from Watt’s ‘SNL’ appearance.

About the Author:

Small town Indiana native obsessed with basketball, live music, Mexican food, and telling a good story.