Shaquille O’Neal revealed on the ‘Full Send Podcast’ that him and Kobe Bryant acted like they had a feud with one another when with the Lakers.
One of the most iconic and dominant duos to have stepped onto NBA hardwood is Kobe Bryant coupled with Shaquille O’Neal. The two dominated the Western Conference in the early 2000s as they won three straight championships from 2000-2002 and made the Finals in 2004 before falling in five games to the Detroit Pistons.
For 99.9% of superstars that have played within this league over 75 years, three straight titles would’ve sufficed and fed the hunger that craved for success. Kobe Bryant was different however as he has said on multiple occasions that if Shaquille O’Neal would’ve stayed in shape, the would’ve won more than just double of what they achieved together.
Shaq on the other hand, has clearly stated that winning one was more than enough and implied that winning multiple was just icing atop the cake. Their differences in mentalities, amongst a plethora of other incidents led to the Lakers eventually trading an aging O’Neal to the Miami Heat in 2004.
Shaquille O’Neal says that him and Kobe Bryant played up their beef.
Rumblings around the league during those 3-peat years all said the same thing: Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant do not see eye to eye on several things. During the 2000 season, it was reported that Shaq called out Kobe during a meeting and said, “I think Kobe is playing too selfishly for us to win”.
The narrative that Kobe Bryant was a tad bit too selfish with his playstyle was prominent all throughout their run together. The fact that both of them saw themselves as the alpha of the group didn’t help either. Shaq however, has now come out and said that the ‘beef’ they had was played up for marketing purposes only.
“I perpetuated it (the feud) out of the locker room because the one thing I understood was marketing. So, ‘I don’t like him and he don’t like me,’ and everybody talked about us. That’s all I want. It kind of went too far where people kind of believed it. If you believed then you think we win 3 out of 4?”
Shaquille O’Neal would on about how the two did fight but always had love and respect for one another and that they had a little brother-older brother type relationship.