Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant got the closure they needed – not before they took some friendly shots at each other.
2 years after Kobe Bryant’s retirement, Shaquille O’Neal sat down with him and had a face-to-face interview. It was to finally let go of all the past animosity the both of them held towards each other while reminiscing on the past events that led to their dynasty peaking and then breaking up.
Many clips from this interview float around on the internet, but one particular clip speaks about what fueled Kobe Bryant as a professional. it was not the records, not money, but the adversity. It was the naysayers that spoke behind his back and about him, that pushed him every day. He wanted the world to see Kobe Bean Bryant not deterred in the face of adversity, be it from fans, teammates, or even his parents.
He says to Shaq that he wanted him to win a ring – he was open about it. He knew he was going to win one sooner or later, his goal was to out win him. It takes a good player to win a title, a great player to accept that a rival will win one, a legend to say if he wins one, I can win 2-3 more than him.
Shaquille O’Neal should have put his ego aside – he along with Kobe would have an untouchable duo and only Bill Russell could have had more rings than them
Not many players take negative comments like how Kobe does – just look at Ben Simmons. Kobe’s a crazy guy – for him to say “I wanted people to hate me. I wanted that so that I could come back with anger and vengeance” while going through a tough patch in his life needs guts and a slightly deranged mind. To say that about his ex-teammate is even crazier.
The Mamba mentality can be overused and overrated sometimes – but not in this case. The obsession with the game and the need to prove to everybody that he is the best stems from an innate determination that not many have. Kobe lived and breathed basketball to a point where it felt like he was doing too much – but that is what separated him from the good players and put him in the legend status.