Kobe Bryant & Shaquille O’Neal are still seen as perhaps the single most dominant duo in NBA history, but they could’ve won so much more.
If the pair stayed together for as long as Jordan and Pippen did, they could’ve become the best.
But when they were together, they couldn’t tolerate each other. They won 3 championships during their 8-year partnership but still, the rivalry between them was famous, throughout their stay at the Staples Centre.
Kobe and Shaq started having issues by the time coach Phil Jackson joined the Lakers. Although he was one of the major antagonists of their 3-peating, his arrival might have started things getting out of hand. Or was it Shaq’s fitness?
Shaq and Kobe fought for the majority of their stay together in LA until Shaq left
The Finals MVP of 2000, reportedly stated, after their 1st championship,
“When it was clear that everything went through me, the outcome of it was (a record of) 67-15, playing with enthusiasm, the city jumping up and down and a parade. And now we’re 23-11. You figure it out … I don’t know why anybody else would want to change—other than selfish reasons.” said Shaq
Coming into a season totally out of shape when Kobe was coming in the best shape of his life didn’t help him either.
Kobe said, “Things change, things evolve, and you just have to grow with that change.”
Even after that, Shaq came up best among the two and won 2 more Finals MVP en route to two Lakers Championships.
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal feuded, leading to Shaq leaving the Lakers for the Miami Heat in 04
Shaq after his pretty dominant 1st season at the South Beach had accepted to play second fiddle to Dwayne Wade which he never agreed to do with Kobe.
The big Diesel along with Dwayne Wade one-upped Kobe by winning the 2006 NBA Championship. The Mamba took his time catching up with Shaq. Boy!!! Wouldn’t Shaq regret dissing Mamba!
Bryant caught up, he won two more Championships in 2009 and 10 and the two Finals MVPs in Purple and Gold. After winning his 5th ring the first thing Mamba said was, he now had one more championship than Shaq did. And Shaq acknowledged in his own way.
@THE_REAL_SHAQ Congratulations Kobe, u deserve it. U played great. Enjoy it man enjoy it. I know what ur saying “Shaq how does my ass taste”
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) June 18, 2010
A few years later when they sat together they talked about it,
Shaq: “Do you think I was pissed when you got No. 5?”
Kobe: “Of course you were.”
Shaq: “No, I tore my house up. I went crazy. ‘Cause, when I got four and you got four, that’s straight. When you got that fifth one, you said, ‘I just wanted to get one more than Shaq.'”
Kobe: “Absolutely. I said, ‘you know what? It ain’t nothing he can do about it, either.'”
It was all good between The Mamba and The Diesel when they hung up their shoes.