Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant were undeniably among the iconic duos in the history of the NBA. The two together brought power to the court that could be felt even when they made an exit. Notably, Bryant’s death felt personal to even fans who never even met. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that his teammates and family had a hard time believing the news.
Additionally, O’Neal signed with the Los Angeles Lakers the same year when rookie Bryant joined. They played together for seven long years and took the team to greater heights. The two together won three consecutive championships from 2000 to 2002. Even though Shaq and Bryant together were nothing short of a powerhouse, their feud was also evident.
Furthermore, during an appearance on ‘The Pivot Podcast‘, Shaq spoke about how he adamantly denied believing the news of Bryant’s death. Shaq’s son was the one who first informed him about Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash. Upon hearing this, O’Neal said, “Y’all bullsh*t. It’s a hoax, stop it”. He continued to talk about how Shaunie called him while crying.
After this Shaq decided to verify the news himself. He revealed, “I called my guy from the sheriff’s office. He said it was true. I started crying and that still haunts me”. The 4x NBA championship winner could to even believe the news until he received legal information.
Shaquille O’Neal revealed that Kobe jumped on his arm after he won the first championship
In the same interview, Shaquille O’Neal touched upon how people believe his and Kobe Bryant’s relationship was worse than it actually was. In his own words, “It’s just two brothers going at it. Two guys with you know difference of opinion”. He furthermore revealed that when he won his first championship in 2000, Bryant was the one who jumped on his arm.
On June 19th, 2000, @SHAQ and Kobe clinched their first NBA Championship together!
The 2000 @Lakers finished the regular season with the NBA’s best record. League MVP Shaquille O’Neal was aided by a young Kobe Bryant and blitzed through the Western Conference.#NBA75 pic.twitter.com/Sv9gF94oRK
— NBA India (@NBAIndia) November 30, 2021
Shaq said, “After my first championship when I go like this it’s a million motherfu*kers in the arena. Who jumps on my arm first was Kobe”. He emphasized how if they hated each other then how would they have that kind of moment together. It surely made fans think again about the kind of relationship they shared.
Shaquille O’Neal disclosed his biggest regret about his relationship with Kobe Bryant
Shaquille O’Neal also disclosed his biggest regret that he still holds onto his relationship with Kobe Bryant. In the podcast, he said, “All that we went through we could have shook hands and put that aside”. It is quite normal that people hold such regrets about relationships especially when one of them is no more.
Even though the feud between them was quite evident, it is undeniable that the two together made an impact on the basketball world. Fans across the world continue to keep Bryant’s legacy alive through different mediums such as Murals, statues, etc. Even when one of Bryant’s fans was trying to save a mural, Shaq joined in the support by posting online.