Kobe Bryant once said that his favorite moment with Shaquille O’Neal was the time when they mooned Kings fans following their Game 7 win.
The 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings was marred with incredibly atrocious refereeing from Tim Donaghy and the rest of his crew.
The disgraced NBA official even admitted years after the 2002 series that Game 6 was rigged in favor of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal’s Lakers.
According to Donaghy, Dick Bevatta was the NBA’s ‘go-to guy’ in situations where they wanted to force a Game 7. Of course, having a Game 7 would’ve had ticket sales go through the roof.
And they did. However, at the time of the series, none of the players or the fans knew about the dealings that were taking place in the background.
So, the competitive vigor that was present between Kobe Bryant and the Kings, and vice-versa, was very apparent. Kings fans knew they had the best team in the league and the fact that they lost Game 6 most certainly had them heated.
Kings fans mooned Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal and so they returned the favor
The aforementioned hate that Kings fans had for the Lakers went so far as to a couple of fans mooning Kobe Bryant and Shaq prior to Game 7. Mooning is the act of exposing your a** to someone out of the blue; for those that were not in the know of what mooning was.
As history unfolded, the Los Angeles Lakers bested the Kings in Game 7 to move on to the NBA Finals. The moment that takes place on the bus ride back home, according to Kobe Bryant, is the ‘Black Mamba’s’ favorite moment between him and Shaq.
“We walked into Game 7, and my favorite moment, that we ever had, was in the bus, leaving the arena. What did we do Shaq?” Kobe asked O’Neal. In response, Shaq said, “When we got there, people were mooning us. So, after the game, all of us put out a**es on the windows and we mooned them.”
One of the beauties of living in 2002 was the fact that phones didn’t have cameras on them. No one had any proof that NBA legends, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal had just exposed their butts to a sea chalked full of fans of the opposing team.
If this happened, say, after the 2020 NBA Finals and Lebron James mooned heat fans, the criticism he would receive would be borderline, catastrophic.