Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal are the most destructive 1-2 punch in league history. It comes as no surprise that Shaq thinks they’d have won more.
Lakers legends Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal played together for 8 seasons. They made it to the NBA Finals in 4 out of their last 5 seasons together. The first 3 of these ended in wins for the team, making them the last championship team to have threepeated.
Shaquille O’Neal carried the Lakers to their first championship in 12 years in the 2000 NBA Finals. This was the year when he almost unanimously won the MVP award and averaged freakin’ 38 points and 16 rebounds in the Finals.
Kobe was injured that year, so it was natural that he’d want to come back with a vengeance the following year. And come back with a vengeance Kobe definitely did.
The Lakers went on an 11-game win streak in the Western Conference playoffs. They swept 3 different teams en route to one of the most dominant championship runs of all time.
In fact, the 2000-01 Lakers had pretty much the same win percentage in the playoffs as the 2016-17 Warriors. They carried on in the same vein the following year as well, sweeping the New Jersey Nets in the Finals.
Shaquille O’Neal truly believes that he could’ve won 7 championships with Kobe Bryant
Kobe and Shaq fell out badly in 2002, and they never mended their relationship in the 2 years that followed. Following an ignominous 4-1 defeat in the 2004 NBA Finals, both Kobe and Shaq demanded trades away from the Lakers.
Shaq recently went on the All the Smoke podcast hosted by Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. This is where he claimed that he could’ve won a whopping 4 more championships had he stayed teammates with Kobe Bryant.
Shaq talks Steph Curry, how he changed the game, history with Kobe Bryant and Lakers, Miami Heat 2006 championship, and more on “All The Smoke,” with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson [VIDEO] https://t.co/LHGCIZDELw
— Hip-HopVibe.com (@HipHopVibe1) April 30, 2021
Now there’s always been enough unsubstantiated assertions from former players to fill entire columns. But it’s obvious that Kobe and Shaq could’ve made it to at least 2 more Finals together. They still remained the dominant duo of the league, and it was most inopportune of the Buss family to simply trade away the most dominant player in NBA history without trying harder to patch things up.