Prince performs during halftime at Super Bowl XLI in Miami 2007. (Chris O’Meara/AP)

Prince, who died Thursday at the age of 57, honored the sports world with his presence a number of times over the years, usually letting his music do the speaking for him. Most memorably, he delivered the best halftime performance in Super Bowl history in 2007, when he rocked Miami’s Dolphin Stadium in a pouring rain.

“Can you make it rain harder?” he asked, when told that it would be raining during the show.

Just watch for the behind-the-scenes story.

“He’s just one performer shaking the entire world,” Jon Pareles of the New York Times wrote, and that actually felt like an understatement as he performed “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Purple Rain” and other songs in the 12-minute show.

He may have topped it a couple of days before, though, when he turned the press conference the halftime performer does each year into a quick show. “At the first shout of a question, Prince turned his back to the audience of a few hundred reporters and burst into a hard-driving guitar riff that resonated like the first rumblings of thunder in an electrical storm,” Karen Crouse of the New York Times wrote.

The lucky reporters heard him sing “Johnny B. Goode,” “Anotherloverholenyohead” and “Get on the Boat.”


NBD. Just Prince doing a Super Bowl press conference in 2007 (Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

The Chicago Bears went on to lose that game to the Indianapolis Colts and, worse, they didn’t get to see Prince.

“We’re not here to see the halftime show, and I understand and I know why,” Charles Tillman said. “But, you know, who wouldn’t like to see Prince?”

He rocked sports and  Twitter almost two years ago when he hit the French Open while he was on a concert tour and — scepter and all — watched his pal, Rafael Nadal, play a little tennis.


(Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP Getty Images)

While we’re going to treasure that Super Bowl halftime show in our memory banks, let’s also pause to remember that Prince was also a pretty fair high school basketball player and there’s evidence to prove it.

When the Minnesota Lynx won the NBA championship last fall, no one was happier to throw a big party for them than Prince. He played for over three hours at Paisley Park. “I didn’t expect this party,” Maya Moore said (via the Star-Tribune’s Jon Bream). “Unbelievable.”

And he jammed for 2 1/2 hours in New York during the NBA’s All-Star weekend in February. “On behalf of the NBA family,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told reporters at the annual meeting of Associated Press sports editors in New York,  “I want to let you know how sorry we are for him, his family and his millions of fans around the world.”

In early March, Prince sat courtside to watch the NBA’s reigning monarch, Stephen Curry, and the Golden State Warriors play in Oakland. At a recent concert at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre, he said, “What can you truly count on besides Steph Curry? And you can count on Steph Curry.”

Well, we always counted on Prince, too.

We’ll leave you with this story about the time Prince rented a house in Beverly Hills from former NBA player Carlos Boozer:

Sports editor Matt Vita contribute to this report from New York.