by Maurice Bobb / @ReeseReport

The past year-plus has been very good for Kevin Hart. The diminutive comedian starred in his hugely successful comedy tour, film and DVD, Laugh at My Pain; co-starred in the hit movie, Think Like a Man; has a recurring role on one of the funniest shows on TV, Modern Family; hosted the MTV Movie Awards; and managed to outshine most of the NBA’s superstars during All-Star Weekend in Orlando. Fresh from stealing a win as player/coach against Ludacris in the rapper’s Celebrity Basketball Game over LudaDay Weekend in August, Hart sat down with SLAM to break it all down.

SLAM: How big of an NBA fan are you?

Kevin Hart: Huge. Even though they didn’t let me play, I’ve stayed loyal to the League and participated in their All-Star Weekends and I make it better. This coming year, I’m actually thinking about signing up for the Dunk Contest. I’m having them lower the rim for me. I think it’s a great idea.

SLAM: You’re from Philly. Are you a Sixers fan?

KH: I love the Sixers, but we lost one of our good guys, Lou Williams. Losing him pissed me off, but it’s actually better for his career; he’s home, he’s in Atlanta, he’s happy. But hopefully, with the trades we got, we actually put ourselves in a position to win some games this coming season. But yes, I’m a diehard Sixers fan. Diehard.

SLAM: You’ve made fun of Shaq, LeBron, DWade and Kobe. Have any of the players gotten mad at you for making fun of them?

KH: No, because they can’t mess with me when it comes to jokes. If I was a boxer, I would be undefeated. People expect that. They know that about me. They know that I’m quick, I’m witty and I’m funny. But at the same time, it’s all love. It’s all with people that I have relationships with, and I think that’s one thing about the NBA that I really do embrace. I literally know all those guys and they’re good friends of mine. I support them and in return they support me as well.

SLAM: NBA players have MVP awards and Championships. What’s the comedy milestone for you that signals you’ve made it?

Kevin H: When you look at the greats like Eddie Murphy, like Bill Cosby, you look at Martin Lawrence, Chris Rock; I can go down the list of people. Those men are looked at on a comedy pedestal. You know, Richard Pryor. They’re put on a pedestal, so when people talk and those names come up, I want to be a person who is mentioned along with those comedy greats. So for me to do that, I have to do a lot in my career, and right now there’s a lot more that I need to do.

SLAM: What does it feel like for you to have fans quote lines like “pineapples!” or “alright, alright, alriiiiight!” from your comedy special?

KH: It’s love. The thing is, it’s all support. Your fan base supports you the best way they know how and reciting your material, that’s their way of relating to you as a comedian. So it’s all love and it makes me smile, man. It lets me know that I’m doing the right thing.

SLAM: So what’s next for you?

KH: I have the Let Me Explain theatrical release coming, which I’m shooting in New York, and tons of movies. I got a lot of movies coming out next year. I’m taking over, so get ready to laugh.